I first off want to apologize. I've been in hiding, mourning the events of last night. If you don't know why already, then you've either been living under a rock, or don't read Alligator Army all that much. Florida (53-19) lost in the College World Series Finals to SEC East foe and defending champion South Carolina (55-14), 5-2. The Gamecocks kept their NCAA records of 16 straight NCAA Tournament wins and 11 straight College World Series wins intact. The Gators wasted numerous opportunities, gave the Gamecocks too many occasions to succeed, and South Carolina got out of many jams to take the series and the championship. At least now we can say we have a true SEC East Champion in South Carolina.
On to what has caused my depression, also known as highlights...
The score might as well have been 100-0. Gamecocks starter Michael Roth threw 7 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with six strikeouts. Roth seemingly got out of every jam possible, much like South Carolina did the night before. Roth did give up a solo home run to Mike Zunino in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 3-1 and give the Gator Nation hope. Zunino, after struggling for most of the CWS, tried to single-handedly keep the Gators season from ending, going 3-for-3 with two walks. The Gamecock's couldn't get him out, but the rest of the team didn't follow.
The Gators put their first two men on base in the top of the fifth and sixth, but Roth, and the Gamecock's defense (Let's give them some credit. They did have some pretty heady plays), got out of both situations unscathed.
Peter Mooney's line drive home run in the bottom of the sixth pushed South Carolina's lead to 4-1. Josh Adams answered in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single to cut the lead to 4-2 to keep the Gators dreams alive. John Taylor gave up the run charged to Roth. This is noteworthy because Taylor appeared in 50 games this season, 1 game short of former Florida pitcher Connor Falkenbach. At least he didn't break that record along with the Gator Nation's hearts.
Wingo hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to insure South Carolina's victory. Gamecock's closer Matt Price came in and earned his 20th save of the season and the National Championship.
This has not been a stellar year for Florida sports versus South Carolina. They beat us in football for the rights to represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship game. They beat us at home in men's basketball. And now they beat us to win the baseball national championship. All in all, however, this will go down as the best baseball season ever for the Gators, setting the win record at 53. And this team should be loaded for next year. The good (or bad) news out of all of this is baseball is the final collegiate sporting event of what has been a banner year for Gator sports. And just think. There's only 64 more days until football season.