Florida came into its Monday night matchup with Virginia as the hottest team in the 2015 College World Series field.
The Gators left it as the coldest — and with an exasperating 1-0 loss.
Florida scratched out just two hits, both singles, over the nine innings in Omaha, and while Gators starter A.J. Puk and relievers Taylor Lewis and Bobby Poyner limited the Cavaliers to only five hits of their own, Virginia did manage to plate a run.
It came in the bottom of the sixth, after the Cavaliers loaded the bases with just one out. Designated hitter Robbie Coman flicked a sacrifice fly to center, Buddy Reed airmailed a throw to home that never had a chance of saving a run, and the Gators were down 1-0 — for good.
Florida had one great chance, too: The Gators put runners on the corners with no outs in the eighth inning after Ryan Larson followed a Dalton Guthrie walk with a single flared to center. But Harrison Bader didn't bunt: He ripped a shot right back up the middle, and an incredible reflexive knockdown by Virginia reliever Josh Sborz turned it into a fielder's choice. Richie Martin didn't bunt, either, lining softly to second for the inning's second out. And Josh Tobias, Florida's leader in batting average all year, finished the inning with a groundout.
In the top of the ninth, with the heart of the order (including the white-hot JJ Schwarz) up, Florida didn't even manage a hit.
And so now the the Gators go to the losers' bracket from the winners' bracket, and will meet the Miami team they vanquished on Friday again on Wednesday. The winner of that contest will go on to face Virginia, but it will have to beat the Cavaliers twice just to make the championship series. The difficulty of that task is part of why no team has lost a winners' bracket game and won a national title since Wichita State did so in 1989.
The loser will go home.