It was supposed to be the resumption of a rivalry between Florida and Florida State.
Instead, for almost all of Friday night's 13-5 win by Florida in Game 1 of its Super Regional against the Seminoles, it was a hammer pounding a nail.
Florida scored four runs in the bottom of the first, then scored in four other innings, and got 5.2 scoreless innings from starter Logan Shore on the night, while flashing some of the incredible defense in the field that has the Gators in line to be the best defensive team in the history of college baseball.
Florida would eventually extend the lead to 13-0 by the end of the seventh inning, thanks to, among other things, a home run from white-hot JJ Schwarz and four errors by Florida State.
But the Gators could not finish the shutout. Reliever Frank Rubio — who gave up a walk-off home run against the Seminoles in Tallahassee this April — let up a two-run blast to DJ Stewart in the eighth and failed to record an out, and FSU would rally to score three more runs in the top of the ninth, all charged to Logan Browning.
Despite the late drama — FSU left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth — this game was effectively over when Seminoles starter Boomer Biegalski left in the third, having allowed five earned runs and recorded six outs. And the only things spoiled by FSU's late outburst were chances at history: Florida was in line for its biggest Super Regional win ever, and on pace to hand the 'Noles their worst shutout loss in NCAA Tournament play, before the five runs over the final two frames.
And Florida State's made a bit of a habit of scoring ineffectually at the end of Super Regional blowouts in Gainesville: Despite Florida going 3-0 in such games to date, and winning them by a combined 29-11 count, FSU has actually outscored Florida by a 7-0 count over the last two frames of those three games.
It was too little, too late for the Seminoles on Friday — Florida was just too much (almost) all night.
If another overwhelming performance follows this one on Saturday in Game 2, perhaps led by cannon-armed starter A.J. Puk or an offense that has tallied 72 runs over its last eight games, the Gators will make the College World Series for the first time since 2012.