OMAHA, Neb. – Prior to their midseason series at Ole Miss, the Gators had been rolling to the tune of a 19-3 record, flexing their muscles on offense and stifling opposing batters on the mound in rather impressive fashion. In Oxford, the Gators dropped their first of what would be three series losses in a six week period, two of which came against conference rivals Missouri and Kentucky, neither of which should have (in theory) been a difficult weekend adversary in the first place. However, the turning point came following a blowout loss to Georgia in their weekend opener on May 1.
Having dealt with command issues for much of the season and an off the field incident, southpaw A.J. Puk stood tall and turned in six shutout innings with the accompaniment of 11 strikeouts. That 3-2 victory jump started a 16-3 journey that saw the Gators blaze through the SEC tournament, regionals, and super regionals with relative ease. Now that they’re back in Omaha for the first time since 2012, the Gators are eager to show each of the other seven teams why they may very well be the most complete team at the College World Series.
From the leadership of upperclassmen Tobias, Martin, and Bader, a talented sophomore cast of Alonso, Reed, and Larson, and freshman juggernauts Schwarz, Guthrie, and Rivera, the Gators have a rather potent offensive attack that can pounce from different angles and approaches. On the mound, Shore and Puk have taken the helm at the front of the rotation, while freshman Faedo has dazzled with stuff that is indicative of a future ace. Poyner and Rhodes are the veteran stalwarts of a lockdown bullpen core that includes the likes of Hanhold, Snead, and closer Lewis. As you can see, the competitive balance is across the board with this Gator crew.
The bar has been set. The players and coaches are ready. Omaha is upon us, wherein the following will serve as a score tracker and game recap database for each of the matchups featuring the Florida Gators throughout the College World Series.
CWS Game 2: Saturday, June 13, 2015
Final: Florida 15, Miami 3
The early season duel between Florida’s Logan Shore and Miami’s Andrew Suarez never happened and as such, took until Omaha to materialize. However, the battle of aces didn’t quite live up to its bill, as both commenced the game on rather inconsistent notes. Costly errors in the fourth unlocked the waterfall that became that inning, as Suarez was unable to manage the rest of the way and was later charged with seven earned runs when the smoked settled and cleared.
Shore was unable to locate his fastball early on and as such, the Hurricanes took advantage by making good contact and jumped to an early 2-0 lead. Despite early command issues and a pair of defensive miscues behind him, Shore buckled down following the second and worked three scoreless frames.
On offense, the Gators started things off in the bottom of the fourth with a lead off walk drawn by Josh Tobias. JJ Schwarz followed with a hard hit chopper to short, but Miami’s Brandon Lopez was unable to field it cleanly and forced what would be an errant throw to first. What could have been a routine double play, resulted in runners on second and third with no outs – as such, the Gators took advantage and exploded for 12 runs in the inning.
Danny Young, Aaron Rhodes, and Dane Dunning followed suit and held the Hurricanes scoreless for four innings, providing the type of bullpen stoppage that Florida has displayed throughout much of the past two seasons. In the end, the Gators grabbed the 15-3 victory and will send Puk to the mound in Monday night’s contest against the Virginia Cavaliers, another well balanced team that should test this determined Florida squad.
CWS Game 6: Monday, June 15, 2015
Final: Virginia 1, Florida 0
CWS Game 9: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Final: Florida 10, Miami 2
CWS Game 11: Friday, June 19, 2015
Final: Florida vs. Virginia (3:00 PM ET)