The softball team finished as the College World Series runner-up, falling to Oklahoma in the final, while gymnastics capped off the year with a third-place finish in the NCAA Super Six behind Oklahoma and LSU. The game drew a crowd of 26,607, the fifth-largest audience in the history of TD Ameritrade Park.
Game two is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN. “That’s all I can say”, said O’Sullivan, the 10th-year coach who had brought the Gators to Omaha six of the past eight years. And he was a little off Saturday for a few of his mid-90 miles per hour pitches.
Roy’s son is Travis Roy, LSU strength and conditioning coach.
LSU’s usually-reliable defense buckled a bit early, and the resulting wobble wound up costing the Tigers their season.
Those two unearned runs loomed for much of the night as Florida spot starter Tyler Dyson made his second start in college and limited the Tigers offensively by throwing more breaking pitches than anticipated.
Florida won four of the five games between the two teams this season.
For the first time, the Gators were the ones celebrating. The next batter, Liput, singled Horvath home to put the Gators ahead 2-0. Schwarz and Maldonado scored on a double by Jonathan India.
“I’m just so happy for our players”, head coach Kevin O’Sullivan told reporters following the game.
All the runs were charged to Reynolds, who dropped to 1-1.
Another Driller, Corey Copping, worked one inning of relief, allowing no hits and struck out one. Senior and former closer Hunter Newman also threw a season-high two and a third innings of shutout ball. The reason I picked the Gators in game one was because of the pitching staff, and those arms have shown up all postseason. “We had a couple of situations that maybe if we’ve been able to take more advantage of, it would have been different”.
“It’s fantastic we were right there and made it that close”.
Now, LSU is in its comfort zone – in the elimination arena.
Florida was in the CWS for the 11th time and had been swept its two previous finals appearances, in 2005 and 2011. Liput delivered with a clutch two out hit and Florida led 2-0.
LSU would then respond in the eighth inning after a leadoff double from junior outfielder Greg Deichmann.
Florida got one of those runs back in the top of the seventh. The Tigers had won their four previous meetings against Florida in the CWS.The Gators are 51-19.
But not on this night. Beau Jordan lined out to center field to end the Tigers’ chance at a big inning.
“Russell did a really great job“, Mainieri said. Poche’ earned a three-pitch strikeout of Ryan Larson before getting Horvath to pop-out on the infield.
But Antoine Duplantis struck out, and Florida first baseman JJ Schwarz cleanly picked Greg Deichmann’s hard shot before firing a flawless throw home to nab Robertson at the plate for the second out. The Tigers’ Zach Watson then stole second and scored on Josh Smith’s double.
“I see an older gentleman being held up by his family, and they said he’s weak”, Poche’ said.
Duplantis hit a solo homer off Singer in the sixth to get LSU within 3-1. With two on, Papierski failed to keep the rally going as he flew out to end the sixth.
“He was electric”, said Duplantis.
The Gators took a 4-2 lead in the seventh.
Left-hander Nick Bush relieved Reynolds to face the left-handed Austin Langworthy. He would then score on Liput’s single and it was 2-0 through two. “It looks like, luckily, we got him back”.
LSU starter Jared Poche’, the winningest pitcher in school history with a 39-13 career mark, was charged with the loss to finish with a 12-4 mark in 2017. “So, we’re going to ride it”.
NOTES: LSU lost for the first time in seven occasions after reaching the championship game or championship series of the CWS.
“I tried to go hard into second and did what I thought I was supposed to do and the (umpire) said I went out of my way to get him”, Slaughter said. It’s Poche, Hess, Lange and Hess for the rest now.
“Turned out to be important because of the ground rule double”, Mainieri said.
“That’s the plan, right?” he said. LSU tried to piece together nine innings from pitchers outside its regular rotation, and it nearly worked. “Jared Poché has been a warrior for us for four years”. So somebody’s not telling the truth to me. “We’ve just got to beat them Tuesday”.