Florida has never won a baseball National Championship. Tonight, they begin that quest, playing UCLA at 7pm in Omaha.
The Gators (47-15) send sophomore Alex Panteliodis (11-2, 3.26) to the mound. The southpaw has won his three postseason starts this season, with a 3.12 ERA in 20.2 innings. His last outing was a dominant complete game over Miami in which he had 12 strikeouts and allowed two runs on three hits.
UCLA (48-14) also will put a sophomore on the hill in Trevor Bauer (10-3, 3.02). Bauer has pitched 116.1 innings this season with 141 strikeouts for a very good UCLA staff. The Bruins have a 2.97 staff ERA, second best nationally and a run better than the Gators. They can also match the Gators in the 9th inning, matching up UF's Kevin Chapman (3-0, 11 saves, 1.48) to UCLA's Dan Klein (6-0, 9 saves, 1.93).
Both teams hit around .300 (UF at .300 and UCLA at .307), but the Bruins are 20 points better in on-base percentage; .381 to .401 for UCLA. The Bruins strength is in their depth, with four players hitting better than .300, better than .400 on-base and with at least 30 RBI. UF's advantage is in power. UCLA has no one close to the Gators' Austin Maddox with 71 RBI, 17 homers and .333 average.
The College World Series is double elimination. The winner would play the surprising TCU. The loser would play FSU, who lost to the Horned Frogs today 8-1.