Survive and advance is the rallying cry in another, more-watched NCAA Tournament, but it is what the Florida Gators must do to keep their championship dreams alive at the College World Series, beginning this Tuesday against Texas Tech (5 p.m., ESPN2 and WatchESPN).
Florida has the horses to charge from the back of the pack, undoubtedly. Sophomore Alex Faedo (13-2, 3.25 ERA) has filthy stuff, and is capable of striking out 10 batters in a seven-inning showcase, though he was also touched for three runs against Florida State in a Super Regional start. The Gators' lineup, nearly silent against Coastal Carolina's tricky Andrew Beckwith, could scarcely be worse against the Red Raiders, who will likely start freshman Davis Martin, who has walked just 24 men in more than 82 innings.
A rebound at the plate and in the field from a pack of Florida players who are keen to prove that their 2-1 loss to the Chanticleers on Sunday night was more bad luck than poor performance will make them competitive against Tech, which won the Big 12 in 2016, but is still searching for its first-ever College World Series win.
Florida has 14 of those, and collected three last year, two of those victories coming in elimination games. The Gators will need four more wins with their spines to the bricks to make the championship series.
On this day, though, they just need one to stay alive.