Tuesday, June 16, 2015

2015 College World Series: Virginia Sends #4 Florida to Loser's Bracket

Well, the 10-game winning streak is over. After dishing out 11 runs against Miami in just ONE inning, the Florida Gators were unable to muster just ONE run in nine innings against Virginia in a 1-0 loss tonight. This is the third time all year that the Florida Gators have been shut out.

The Florida Gator lineup was absolutely DOMINATED by Virginia's junior lefty Brandon Waddell, who threw seven excellent innings of shutout baseball. He allowed just two hits (to Peter Alonso and Ryan Larsen) and struck out three while walking three.

The Gators countered with their own lefty in A.J. Puk. The sophomore went 5.1 innings, gave up one run on four hits, struck out five, and walked three. He left with the bases loaded and one outs in the sixth.

Junior Taylor Lewis came in to relieve Puk and gave up a sacrifice fly to DH Robbie Coman that would ultimately be the difference in the game (the run was charged to Puk). After Lewis gave up a hit and walked a few in the seventh, senior Bobby Poyner came in for the remainder of the game. Both of them thew 1.1 innings in the game.

I have nothing much to say. The offense was dreadful. The Gators only real chance of scoring came with runners on first and third and no outs in the top of the eighth. With the top of the lineup hitting, I thought at the very least the game would be tied.

Leadoff man Harrison Bader hit an absolute rocket back to reliever Josh Sborz, but the ball hit off Sborz's glove and he threw it to second for the first out. Richie Martin then lined out to second base and Josh Tobias followed with a ground out to second base. Florida's best chance to tie the game had been squandered.

I am not a bitter Gator fan. I give credit where its due. Virginia did a phenomenal job shutting down Florida's powerful lineup. One of my good friends and a fellow student at UF, Will Davis, told me why he thought the Gators were going to struggle today.

Davis said that "Florida's last three games have been huge because they have been rivalry games (FSU & Miami). So, of course they are gonna get up and play against those teams. I do not think they see Virginia the same way and will not play with the same intensity as opposed to playing a rival."

My good friend was spot on as the Gators were completely flat throughout the entire game. Now, their backs are against the wall. To make things better, they are hooking up with a Miami Hurricanes team that just walked off to keep its season alive.

Also, I would like to think the 'Canes have not quickly forgotten about the 15-3 drubbing that Florida handed them a few days ago. Miami will be set out on revenge, and a chance to knock Florida out of the College World Series would be the greatest form of it.

After four games between them this season, #4 Florida (50-17) and #5 Miami (50-16) will meet for one final time with both of their seasons on the line. Will Florida regain its offensive prowess? Or will Miami score a season-defining victory? On Wednesday, June 17th, we will have our answer. Game time is 8 p.m. on ESPN.

*All stats accredited to NCAA.com

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