Ranked as one of the tops in the country all season long, the defending champion Florida Gators looked destined to have another successful season. The buzz around Gainesville all year was that this team had what it takes to repeat, however that didn’t come to fruition.
The Gators made it back to Omaha for the fourth straight year and won 49 games, but fell short in the semifinals to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Despite not being able to repeat, the Gators still had a tremendous season as the continue to build one of the flagship program’s in college baseball. Armchair takes a look back at some of the top moments from the Gators successful 2018 campaign:
Opening Night/ Championship Banner Reveal
It was a much-anticipated February 16 in Gainesville, as the Gator Nation’s long wait to watch their championship baseball team came to an end. The Gators hosted Siena on an opening night filled with many festivities celebrating the 2017 championship team.
Of those included the revealing of the championship banner on the left-field wall of McKethan Stadium. For a team that has been a contender for multiple years prior, the long wait for a championship banner to be on display at The Mac was well worth the wait.
The Emergence of Jonathan India
Watching India turn into a superstar on the diamond in 2018 is something Gator fans will remember for years to come. In his first two years on campus, India served as a serviceable role player hitting an average of .288 combined in his first years in Gainesville.
In 2018, India exploded at the plate, hitting .350 with 21 homeruns. India’s numbers were able to earn him SEC Player of the Year honors, and boost his draft stock to the No. 5 overall pick in the MLB Draft. As India gets ready for his next journey in the major leagues, he has laid a foundation to have a very successful career. As for the Gators, there is now monumental hole to fill at the hot-corner.
Walking-Off to Omaha
It doesn’t get much better than late-game heroics in any sport, but with a trip to Omaha on the line, the suspense was at an all-time-high on June 11 in Gainesville. The Gators and the Auburn Tigers were facing off in Game 3 of their super regional matchup in a pitcher’s duel that needed extra innings.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, Austin Langworthy stepped up to the plate, and the rest is history. In a two-strike count, Langworthy sharply sent a line drive to right field that looked threatening. With a little bit of luck, the ball bounced off the Auburn right fielders glove and over the fence, ensuing a scene of madness as the Gators celebrated yet another punched ticket to Omaha.
That. Just. Happened.
Bottom of the 11th. Tie game.