Sunday night, the Florida Gators open up their run in the 2016 College World Series against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, in Omaha, Nebraska.
Florida, a team who is no stranger to the College World Series, is making a run for it for the 10th time in program history. Coastal Carolina is making its first ever trip to Omaha.
Coastal Carolina shocked the baseball world last week after knocking off LSU in the Super Regionals; and they did it in Baton Rouge.
Coach Gary Gilmore’s squad has been very impressive offensively all season long. Coastal Carolina leads the country with 94 home runs and four different Chanticleers have tallied up more long balls than Florida’s homer leader Peter Alonso, who has 13. The Chanticleers also knocked three balls out of the park against LSU.
But the much larger ball park in Omaha could cause some getting used to for Coastal Carolina.
Florida punched its ticket to Omaha after beating Florida State in a Super Regional in Gainesville. The No. 1 overall seed Gators blanked the Seminoles in two straight games to move on as its pitching staff and defense have been team strengths all year long.
Florida will start junior Logan Shore Sunday and he says the team’s bond, on-and-off the field, deserves the credit for making it this far into the post-season.
Not only does this team’s pitching give them an upper hand on paper going into Game 1 of the College World Series, but the experience of this team has stood out all season long and could also play a factor in Omaha. This is Florida’s second consecutive trip to the College World Series and their first man up on the mound, Shore, has two College Word Series wins under his belt.
Florida pitching has only given up 30 home runs in 66 games. Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan, says exceptional pitching and defense is Florida’s identity this season.
So as the World Series opens for both teams, it matches up the experience of Florida with a first time participant in Coastal Carolina. But Coastal Carolina can hit (.300 team batting average), hit for power (four players have over 13 homers and 50 rbi) and they can also run (over 100 stolen bases as a team). And the pitcher who will start against Florida has 12 wins on the season.
The Gators are hoping “There’s No Place Like Home.”
Omaha has been like a second home under Kevin O’Sullivan; now, the team is hoping to come back home to Gainesville with its first ever national title.