On Tuesday night, the Florida Gators used the same formula — brilliant pitching and just enough hitting — that proved to be a recipe for victory in their first game in the College World Series.
It worked again.
And after two games — and two wins — in Omaha, a Florida outfit that has faced elimination twice in this NCAA Tournament has found the most enviable position a program can get to before the championship.
Florida sophomore Brady Singer allowed just one run in seven strong innings, Deacon Liput stroked a three-run home run, and the Gators staved off the only threats of the night in a 5-1 win that leaves them one win from the event’s championship series.
Singer was the story on this night, following Alex Faedo’s phenomenal outing on Sunday against TCU with some superb leather-tossing of his own. Singer fanned nine Louisville batters and was nigh untouchable in his first six innings, allowing just three hits over that span and punching out a batter with runners on the corners in the sixth.
And while Singer did run into trouble in the seventh inning, as he allowed Louisville’s only run of the night and permitted the Cardinals to load the bases with two outs, he also got out of that inning by inducing a groundout to Dalton Guthrie.
That performance made another the modest lead generated by another good night for Florida’s inconsistent offense seem much larger than it was. Louisville actually outhit Florida, 7-5, on the night, but the Gators got homers from Liput (a three-run shot in the fourth inning) and Austin Langworthy (a solo job off the left foul pole in the third inning) on two of those five hits, and an RBI double from Mike Rivera on a third hit in the seventh inning.
Those timely knocks allowed Florida to score off potent Louisville starter Kade McClure, who struck out nine Gators in six innings of work, without sustained rallies.
Furthermore, the Cards’ tidy sum of one run allowed the Gators to get through the eighth and ninth inning by using just Nick Horvath and Tyler Dyson to record the final six outs, allowing closer Michael Byrne to remain fresh after two innings of work on Sunday.
Florida won’t play again until Friday, when the Gators will meet one of the two teams they have already defeated in this College World Series — Louisville or TCU, depending on which team wins an elimination game on Wednesday — needing just one win in two games to advance to the championship series for the first time since 2012.
And though the Gators probably won’t have Faedo or Singer throwing in that game, their positioning in this College World Series is as enviable as it gets.