OMAHA, Neb. — The No. 1 seed Gator baseball team find themselves in a must win to survive situation after dropping Sunday’s contest to Coastal Carolina. Next up, they will face the only other remaining national seed to advance to the College World Series in No. 5 Texas Tech on Tuesday evening.
Florida dropped to 14-20 all time in their 10th CWS appearance, after falling to Coastal Carolina 2-1 on Sunday night. The Gators were unable to adjust to the sidearm style and multiple release points of the Chanticleer’s Andrew Beckwith who completed his first complete game of the year. A game deciding play came in the top of the third inning, after a ball that was originally ruled foul along the right field line was overturned, giving Coastal Carolina the first run of the night. Florida evened the contest in the bottom half of the fifth with a double from Deacon Liput and an RBI pinch hit from Jeremy Vaquez. It wouldn’t be enough however, as the Chanticleer’s responded in their next at bat with the game deciding run.
The Gators (52-15), still remain one win shy of tying their all-time season record, as Logan Shore (12-1) was charged with his first loss since May 14 of last season.
The Red Raiders are making their second CWS appearance in the last three years, but earned a national seed for the first time since 1999. All three of Tech’s games in the CWS have been determined in the eighth inning or later, including Sunday’s loss to TCU. The Horned Frogs rallied from behind with a three-run home run in the ninth to take the 5-3 decision. The loss was marked as only their second loss after eight innings this season, dropping their record to 41-2 when leading after eight innings. Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock says they will come in on Tuesday ready to play.
Offensively, the Red Raiders are led by center fielder Tanner Gardner who boasts a team leading .429 (15-for-35) average in NCAA Tournament play while carrying a 10 game hitting streak. He is the only player on his team to hit safely in all eight of Tech’s NCAA tournament games. First baseman Eric Gutierrez is also holding a hot hand for the Red Raiders. His last at bat in the loss to TCU yesterday ended a run of eight-consecutive plate appearances where he reached base safely. Gutierrez went 4-for-4 with five RBI, a walk, and was hit by a pitch three times during that span. Orlando Garcia is another Red Raider who has been successful this post season, finishing 2-3 against TCU for his forth multi-hit game of the tournament and 14th of the season.
The Gators will send sophomore righty Alex Faedo (13-2) to the mound, who boasts a 3.25 ERA with a team leading 124 strikeouts. Gator Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan says Faedo will be a good match for all of the Red Raider’s right-handed hitters. The projected started for Texas Tech is freshman RHP Davis Martin (9-1), who boasts a team best 2.73 ERA with 58 strikeouts.
With Miami’s loss to UC Santa Barbara, national seeds move to 0-4 in the 2016 CWS. After tomorrow’s matchup only one national seed will remain.
First pitch from Game 7 of the CWS is slotted for 4 p.m. CT.