By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
NCAA College World Series Review
For the first time in school history, the Florida Gators are the college baseball national champions.
The Gators defeated SEC rival LSU in the College World Series finals to secure their first title. Florida won the opening game, 4-3, behind seven solid innings from starting pitching Brady Singer. The Gators scored three runs in the fourth inning and were able to retain the lead for the remainder of the game despite a late LSU rally. It was the 19th one-run win of the season for Florida.
In the second game of the best-of-three series, Florida scored one run in the bottom of the first and another in the bottom of the second inning. LSU cut the lead in half in the top of the seventh inning after Josh Smith hit an RBI double, but the Tigers couldn’t generate any more offense in that inning. Florida’s pitching continued to be dominant as it was all season, and the offense exploded for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 6-1 lead. LSU couldn’t threaten the Gators in the top of the ninth, and Florida won the series 2-0.
This was Florida’s 11th trip to the College World Series and the school’s third trip to the College World Series finals. The Gators finished the season 50-19, while LSU went 52-18.
Florida only lost one game throughout the entire College World Series. The Gators dropped a game to TCU before bouncing back and eliminating the Horned Frogs in the next game. Florida’s pitching staff led the Gators throughout the season, and it shined on the biggest stage of the sport. The UF offense also caught fire, especially in the last few games of the season.
LSU was in the elimination bracket of the tournament after losing to Oregon State, 13-1, but the Tigers defeated Florida State for the second time in the College World Series to earn another shot at the Beavers. Oregon State had only lost four games all season prior to coming to Omaha, but LSU was the best team they had played all year.
LSU’s pitching staff took over against the Beavers. The Tigers won the first game 3-1, and took the second game, 6-1, en route to eliminating top-ranked Oregon State.
Despite the loss to Florida in the finals, it was still an impressive season for the Tigers.
The SEC had the most teams in the NCAA Tournament, the most teams in the College World Series, and two teams in the championship series. It was another very successful season for the conference, and the league has won five national titles since 2009.