Florida Gators Knocked out of College World Series after 3–2 Loss to Texas Tech
By J.T. Santos
The University of Florida will have to wait another year to achieve that elusive College World Series title. After falling to Coastal Carolina 2–1 in the opening round of the CWS and losing to Texas Tech University 3–2 in the elimination bracket, the No. 1 ranked Gators were eliminated from contention, ending another great season with a disappointing defeat.
In their first game of the 2016 College World Series, the Gators fell to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers by the score of 2–1. Although 2nd Round Draft pick Logan Shore and the UF bullpen threw well, the Gators could not get their bats rolling against side-arm pitcher Andrew Beckwith. Beckwith threw a complete game, striking out seven while only giving up one earned run.
Coastal Carolina got on the board first in the third inning with help from instant replay, which was introduced to the College World Series this year. A foul ball down the right field line by Zach Remillard off starting pitcher Logan Shore was reversed to a RBI double after further review, marking the first time in history instant replay has been used in the CWS.
The Gators evened the score in the fifth after pinch hitter Jeremy Vasquez lined a single up the middle to drive in second baseman Deacon Liput, but Coastal Carolina responded in the sixth with a RBI triple from Remillard, which narrowly missed the glove of Florida center fielder Buddy Reed. Beckwith held the Gators to only two hits and no runs after their one-run fifth, sending Florida to the elimination bracket to play the No. 5 Texas Tech Red Raiders, who lost to TCU.
In the second round elimination game, UF sent out junior pitcher Alex Faedo to the mound to face Texas Tech pitcher Davis Martin. Faedo pitched well most of the game, throwing 7.2 innings and striking out nine, but one mistake really hurt his outing. In the fourth inning, Faedo threw a pitch that caught too much of the plate against Texas Tech first baseman Eric Gutierrez, who blasted a two-run jack into the left — center field stands, making the score 2–0 early in the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, it looked as if the Gators were going to rally, loading the bases after a single, a walk, a sac bunt, and an intentional walk. However, a controversial double play, in which a 1–2–3 double play was completed by runner’s interference, spoiled a golden opportunity. The Red Raiders added to their lead in the top of the ninth, gaining a valuable insurance run after two throwing errors by the usually sure — handed Florida defense on a ground ball from Gutierrez , making the score 3–0.
Two outs later, with the score 3–2, third baseman Jonathan India ripped a line drive close to the left-field wall. India rounded first base and headed towards second, but a perfect throw by left fielder Tyler Neslony nailed India as he slid into second, ending the game, and the Gator’s season.
“Maybe it’s a fitting way to end our season. It was a hustle play, an all out play, and he did everything he could… to give us a chance to tie that ball game.” — Kevin O’Sullivan
When also asked if this season was a failure, Coach O’Sullivan had this to say:
“If getting to Omaha is a failure…. I don’t look at it that way. there’s 8 teams out of 300 that get here, and we’ve been here 5 out of 7, and we’ll be here again soon.”- Kevin O’Sullivan
For the full press conference, check out the video below:
While in Omaha,Nebraska, Florida struggled to score, earning only three runs in 18 innings. This performance was a shell of the Gator’s 52-win regular season and adds to Florida’s underachieving history in the College World Series.
With the 2016 season over, Florida will look to the future to end their World Series drought and finally bring home that National Championship trophy.