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Michael Byrne Talks College World Series and Minor League Experience

With Florida advancing to the College World Series Finals, former Gators closer Michael Byrne joined Sport Scene to talk about his experience playing in Omaha and his career in the minors.

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College Experience

During his time with the Gators, Bryne carved out a productive role with the team, especially in his sophomore season. In 2017, Bryne had an All-American season as a pitcher, recording 93 strikeouts to just 15 walks in 75.2 innings. In that season, he recorded the most saves in a single season in school history (19). Bryne credits head coach Kevin O’Sullivan for his confidence on the mound.

Following a magical regular season, Bryne and the Gators headed into Omaha with championship aspirations. In some cases, this is the biggest stage players will experience in their baseball career. During his college career, Bryne had the opportunity to play in the College World Series in three consecutive years.

In the end, the Gators finished the 2017 season as National Champions, beating LSU 6-1. Bryne would decide to pitch again for the Gators the following year and had another All-American season. While they were able to make it back to Omaha, Florida didn’t repeat as champions in 2018.

Professional Baseball Career

Following his junior season at Florida, Byrne opted into the June Amateur draft and was selected in the 14th round by the Cincinnati Reds. Currently, he plays in the Southern League for the Chattanooga Lookouts in Tennessee. The schedule for many minor league players can be harsh and requires many players to be patient in their journey to the majors. As an example, Bryne outlines what his day was like.

Despite being years removed from his playing days as a Gator, Bryne still appreciates his time at Florida. Multiple players from that championship season have found their way into the MLB. While they might not be on the same team anymore, Bryne and his former teammates still frequently keep in touch with each other.

This year, Florida hopes to duplicate their magical 2017 season and become national champions for the first time in six years.

About Sanjeev Palasseri

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