OMAHA, Neb. — Following Florida’s 9-6 win over Texas Tech there were plenty of people to talk to in the clubhouse. Blake Reese was 3-4, Austin Langworthy had a web gem, Brady Smith hit a RBI triple Wil Dalton and Deacon Liput each had two hits.
Instead I made my way to the back of the locker room to talk to somebody that hadn’t played Thursday night.
Brady Singer was sitting in a locker next to Jackson Kowar, both had headphones on but Singer spotted me and took them off when I approached.
“So, have you started campaigning to pitch on Friday,” I asked.
Singer isn’t new to media and had I not been holding a recorder in his face, the conversation might have gone differently.
“I don’t know,” he said grinning like a Cheshire cat. “I’m going to talk to Sully and we’ll figure it out.”
I retorted with, “Do you want to throw?”
“Of course, but I always want to throw.”
That was it. The was the whole conversation. He knew that I knew he was playing coy. Ten minutes later Kevin O’Sullivan made it official.
“Right now we can’t think about Saturday,” O’Sullivan said at the podium during his post game press conference. “We’ve got to take it one game at a time. We talked to Brady today, and he’s going to pitch tomorrow on four days’ rest.”
Singer opened up the College World Series for the Gators against Texas Tech. The ace threw 99 pitches over 6.1 innings, giving up five runs (two earned) on nine hits and took the loss. It’s not the way he wanted to go out as a Gator and has been dying to get back on the mound, which is why he pled his case to Sully to pitch on four days rest.
“Four days is typically the amount of rest you need in between,” O’Sullivan said. “He said he wanted the ball. And certainly, he’s a junior, he’s older, and he’s strong. And we’ll just monitor his pitch count. But he’s certainly ready to go.”
The other matter at hand is that Arkansas has had Singer’s number. Singer has lost just nine games in his three seasons at Florida; two of those have been to Arkansas. There was a disastrous start in the 2017 SEC Tournament where Singer gave up eight runs in the first two innings, including three home runs. Singer’s career numbers against Arkansas are: 8 IP, 14 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 4 BB, 7 K and a 15.75 ERA.
Singer knows it. Arkansas knows it and Sully knows it.
The fact of the matter is that Brady Singer is O’Sullivan’s guy. He’s been a bulldog for O’Sullivan and the Gators for three years and when your ace tells you he wants the ball in an elimination game you don’t ask questions. You hand him the ball and let him go.
Florida has faced elimination twice in Omaha. Jackson Kowar and Jack Leftwich did their jobs and nothing against the two of them but if the Gators had a choice of who they want on the mound in a game where they could be sent home they’re going to pick Brady Singer every time.
That’s what O’Sullivan is doing Friday night.