After another three-hour rain delay, the Gators brought in Tyler Dyson to pitch in the top of the third inning. What he gave them in return was the pitching performance of his career.
The Bradenton, Florida, native kept the red-hot bats of the Demon Deacons at bay, pitching five scoreless innings and allowing just two hits while striking out a career-high seven batters until Alex Faedo could come in and close the game out.
Behind Dyson’s performance, Florida defeated Wake Forest 3-0 on Monday night in game three of the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional to advance to the College World Series in Omaha.
“Dyson was the difference today,” Wake Forest coach Tim Walter said. “We thought we’d have some chances off Dyson and he just didn’t really give us any. So tip your cap to him and that Florida Gator ball-club.”
Starting pitcher Brady Singer set the stage early for UF before the rain delay, allowing just one hit and striking out three batters in two innings.
Wake Forest went with John McCarren, who quickly succumbed to a strong, early offensive showing by Florida. In 1.2 innings pitched, McCarren allowed four hits and one run before being pulled for Chris Farish.
Farish took the mound again after the rain delay, and didn’t fare much better. He let up three hits and two runs, including a home run by UF first baseman JJ Schwarz in the bottom of the third.
“(The coaches) wanted me to bait (the pitcher), so that’s what I was trying to do,” Schwarz said about his home run. “So he came in there with two strikes and I just reacted and put a good swing on it and luckily got it up in the air.”
The Demon Deacons brought in four more pitchers after that, three of whom let up just one hit, and kept Florida off the board.
The Gators, on the other hand, went with Dyson until the top of the eighth inning, when they turned to Faedo to close out the game.
UF got going early, putting on a run in the bottom of the second after catcher Mike Rivera’s single allowed third baseman Jonathan India to score from third. Florida had three of its 10 hits in the second inning alone, forcing Wake Forest to make an early pitching change from McCarren to Farish.
And despite a rain delay, the Gators picked up right where they left off as Schwarz tacked on two more runs on a two-run home run over the left-field wall.
Both sides wouldn’t have another chance to score until the top of the eighth, when Faedo came in. With runners on first and second, two outs and Wake Forest’s 3-4-5 hitters coming up, the junior struck out Demon Deacon second baseman Jake Mueller to get out of the jam, ending all hopes for Wake Forest to get back into the game.
“I take notes and throw it out the window at this point,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “It’s all about winning, and we’ve won a lot of tough games, a lot of ugly wins. But an ugly win is better than a pretty loss, I know that.”
The Gators now turn their attention to Omaha for the College World Series. They will play TCU on June 18 at 7 p.m. and the winner will play the winner of Louisville and Texas A&M.