For the fourth consecutive year, the Florida Gators have punched their ticket to Omaha and the College World Series after defeating the Auburn Tigers two games to one in Gainesville. Austin Langworthy sent the Gators to Omaha with some 11th inning heroics, smoking a line drive walk-off home run off Auburn outfielder Steven Williams‘ glove.
Michael Byrne was instrumental for the Gators out of the bullpen, throwing four shutout innings after entering in the eighth. Before Byrne took the hill, freshmen Jack Leftwich and Tommy Mace each gave up a run before turning to the program’s leader in saves.
The Gators also got a hand from the SEC’s Player of the Year, Jonathan India. India opened the scoring in the pitcher’s duel, sending a solo home run to the Auburn bullpen in the first inning.
The play of the game came in the fourth inning when Blake Reese stole home to break the 1-1 tie. The Gators worked some trickery on the base-paths, as Nick Horvath served as decoy at first base, while Reese sprinted behind the back of Auburn’s starting lefty Andrew Mitchell and successfully slid home.
HE STOLE HOME.
IN A TIE BALLGAME.
In the all-SEC super regional affair, the two teams played a thrilling series over the weekend in Gainesville. The Gators took Game 1 by the score of 8-2 after a dominating performance on the mound from Brady Singer. Singer out-dueled No. 1 draft pick Casey Mize and the Tigers squad while getting good run-support from the offense, who scored eight unanswered runs.
Auburn, the home team for Game 2, was able to pull off a 3-2 walk-off victory behind Luke Jarvis’ RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. Langworthy was also clutch in Game 2 when he hit a solo home run to tie the game up at two apiece.
Last year’s championship Gators team made a habit of winning one run ball games, and the current squad was able to do the same in the biggest game so far of the season. It wasn’t pretty, but Florida was able to gut out a scrappy win against a talented Auburn team.
The Gators were able to survive their second elimination game of the postseason to return to Omaha once again. In quest of a repeat, the Gators have check off another box in search of ring number two.
The next step for the Gators is an 8-team, double-elimination tournament beginning in Omaha on Saturday for the national championship, where seven teams will look to officially dethrone the current kings of college baseball, the top-ranked Florida Gators.