The Florida Gators beat the Louisiana State University Tigers, 6-1, to claim the Gators first ever College World Series title, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Florida started freshman Tyler Dyson against LSU’s ace Jared Poche. Dyson pitched an easy first inning. He gave up a rolling single for the only base runner. Poche had a rougher first inning. He gave up three straight singles, and the Gators drew first blood to lead 1-0. Poche settled down to retire the next three batters and end the inning.
Dyson pitched well in the top of the second inning, again allowing one runner to reach base. Poche gave up a two-out single to Nick Horvath in the bottom of the inning. LSU fumbled the baseball on a pick-off attempt, which allowed Horvath to reach second base. Florida took advantage of the error when Deacon Liput came up and swatted a single up the middle. Horvath scored from second base and the Gators took a 2-0 lead.
Both teams were held scoreless for the next four innings. Florida had put a lot of runners on base but couldn’t get anyone home. The game was still a two-run affair going into the seventh inning.
The top of the seventh started off great for LSU. Zach Watson got an infield single. Florida replaced starting pitcher Dyson with Michael Byrne after the next LSU batter, Josh Smith, went to a 2-0 count. Smith smashed a double and Watson scored to cut the lead in half. Jake Slaughter then singled and Smith moved to third. That is when it got a little crazy.
LSU catcher Michael Papierski hit into what should have been a routine double-play, and Smith should have scored to tie the game. However, Slaughter was called for interference with the second baseman on the throw from second to first. That meant Smith had to go back to third, and now there were two outs. Beau Jordan was up next for LSU and he lined-out to end the inning with Florida still leading 2-1.
LSU had another chance to tie the game in the top of the eighth inning. They had runners on first and third with one out when Greg Deichmann hit a grounder to JJ Schwarz who threw out Kramer Robertson trying to score. Watson was up next for LSU and he lined out to end the eighth inning. Florida was still ahead by one run. That all changed in the bottom of the inning.
Florida broke the game open in the bottom of the eighth. Gators third baseman Jonathan India began with a double followed by a walk to Austin Langworthy. Catcher Mike Rivera executed a perfect sacrifice bunt, and the runners moved to second and third base. Florida brought in pinch-hitter Christian Hicks. He was intentionally walked to load the bases, and pulled for a pinch-runner, Andrew Baker. The next batter, Nick Horvath, was hit by a pitch. That scored India and put Florida ahead 3-1.
Deacon Liput came up for the Gators and stroked a single to center field, bringing in two more runs, and pushing Florida’s lead to 5-1 over LSU. Dalton Guthrie hit a sacrifice fly to score Baker and produce the final score. LSU was shut down in the top of the ninth, and Florida claimed the crown for 2017.
Written By D.T. Osborn
Source: NCAA: College World Series: LSU-Florida score, highlights and updates in NCAA tournament final
Featured and Top Images Courtesy of D.T. Osborn