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Florida vs. Virginia, College World Series 2015 game thread: Gators, Cavaliers meet again

Florida will face Virginia's ace — who hasn't pitched since April — in a game the Gators must win to stay alive at the College World Series.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

For Florida, Friday's game against Virginia (3 p.m., ESPN2 or WatchESPN) isn't about revenge — it's about staying alive.

But for the Cavaliers, it's about taking a chance and hoping it pays off, with another game left to do the necessary work of eliminating the Gators.

There's good reason for Virginia to be confident that a chance will pay off: Nathan Kirby, its Friday starter, was ahead of Monday's starter Brandon Waddell in the Cavaliers' rotation all year, and all Waddell did was limit the most productive offense at the College World Series to two hits in seven innings of work.

And Virginia does have a margin for error, in that a loss today will not end the Cavaliers' season, but would finish off the Gators.

But Florida's bats reheated on Wednesday against after Waddell iced them on Monday, with a barrage of home runs that re-established the Gators' fear factor at the plate. And Kirby, who throws a little harder than the craftier Waddell, is more like the Miami pitchers Florida has raked against as a result.

I think Florida's likely to win this Friday game, and force a Saturday showdown for the right to play in the CWS championship series, and I think Kirby pitching today actually makes that slightly more likely. But I thought the Gators were likely to beat Virginia on Monday, too.

Here's hoping they prove me right this time.