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Mississippi State's Walk-Off Pushes Florida Baseball to Decisive Game 3

Everything seemed to be going well for the Florida Gators (49-17). Karsten Whitson pitched six stellar innings and the Gators offense had given Whitson a 2-0 lead. That all changed with Mississippi State (38-24) put two runs on the board in the seventh to tie the game up. Then senior Nick Vickerson belted Steven Rodriguez's first pitch in to the left field bleachers to force a game three. Florida won a coin toss at the beginning of the Super Regional to be the home team on Sunday. The winner advances to the 65th College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Cue the highlights...

Everything looked good for the Gators in the early innings. Florida scored the first run in the third inning on a Nolan Fontana sac fly and Josh Adams opened the fourth with a solo home run, his sixth of the season to put UF up 2-0.

Whitson had retired 13 consecutive Bulldog batters before Mississippi State came back in the seventh with two runs on four hits. Cody Freeman and Brent Brownlee came through with RBI singles to knot the game at 2-2.

Florida regained the lead in the eighth when Tyler Thompson came through with a two-out triple that scored Mike Zunino.

Jarrod Parks led off the ninth with a single that chased Florida reliever Nick Maronde. Vickerson greeted Rodriguez with this walk-off winner and the rest is history.

Today's decisive game three starts at 1 p.m. and is on ESPN and espn3.com. Starting pitchers have not been announced yet, but my best guess is Florida will most likely give the ball to Alex Panteliodis, while Brian Johnson could make a showing later in the game if needed. "Pants", as he's affectionately called, hasn't shied away from closing game pressure. He's pitched well for the Gators in the SEC Tournament Championship and Gainesville Regional Championship clinchers. Chris Stratton may head to the bump for the Bulldogs.

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