Florida Gators Drop Opening Game At CWS Against Texas Tech 6-3, Move To Losers Bracket

By  //  June 18, 2018

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Florida vs Texas set for Tuesday; Elimination game

ABOVE VIDEO: Highlights from Texas Tech’s win over defending National Champion Florida Gators at College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

OMAHA, NEBRASKA (Florida Gators) – The defending national champion Gators dropped into the losers bracket in their first game of the College World Series.

Florida grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Deacon Liput scored on a balk, but the Red Raiders tied the game in the fourth with the aid of a balk by UF starter Brady Singer.

Texas Tech added two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to spoil what is possibly the final collegiate start for Singer, Kansas City’s first-round pick in last week’s MLB amateur draft. Singer went 6 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits, five runs (two earned), struck out five and walked none to suffer only the second loss of his junior season.

The Gators showed life late on a two-run homer by Nelson Maldonado to trim Texas Tech’s lead to 5-3 in the seventh, but the Red Raiders added an insurance run in the top of the ninth.

ABOVE VIDEO: Watch the Full Game between Texas Tech and Florida.

PLAY OF THE GAME: With runners at second and third and two outs in the fifth inning, Gabe Holt slapped a high dribbler toward Gators first baseman JJ Schwarz. However, Schwarz was unable to come up with the ball cleanly as it bounced off his glove and into shallow right field. Holt’s two-run single put Texas Tech ahead 3-1, a lead it never relinquished.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Senior captain Schwarz returned to Florida’s lineup for the first time since he took a foul ball off his right hand on May 18 at Mississippi State. Schwarz missed 11 games with a small fracture in the hand. Schwarz hit the ball hard in his first at-bat, a fly out to right. However, he struck out his next two times up, grounded to second his final at-bat, and looked rusty with his footwork defensively at first base, most notably on Holt’s two-run single in the fifth.

CLOSE PLAY: Perhaps the Gators should have known it wasn’t going to be their night when Liput led off the bottom of the first. Liput drilled a pitch from Dusek to deep left field, but Red Raiders sophomore Grant Little raced toward the wall and stretched out to make the catch, robbing Liput of extra bases.

KEY DECISION: Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock, who often uses a pitcher-by-committee approach, went to the bullpen after starter Dylan Dusek walked Liput to lead off the third inning. The move paid off. While the Gators took an early 1-0 lead on reliever Ryan Shetter’s balk, he quickly developed a rhythm and struck out four of the first eight batters he faced. Overall, Shetter struck out seven of the 17 batters he faced, tossing 4 1/3 solid innings. Shetter gave up three hits, one run and walked one in his 65-pitch relief outing.

STRANGE MOMENT: The Gators scored the game’s first run after Liput walked to lead off the third. He moved to second on a wild pitch by Shetter, stole third, and then scored on Shetter’s balk. Liput’s trip around the bases looked like this on the scorecard: BB-WP-SB-BK. Not to be outdone, Josh Jung scored Texas Tech’s first run in the fourth inning. He singled, moved to second on Singer’s balk, to third on a passed ball by Jonah Girand, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Little. Jung’s trip around the bases: 1B-BK-PB-SF.

BY THE NUMBERS: 14 — Pitches Singer needed to retire Red Raiders first baseman Cameron Warren for the second out of the fourth inning. Warren fouled off nine pitches during the at-bat — five in a row at one point — before softly lining out to second. Singer appeared frustrated and was never the same as Texas Tech scored a pair of two-out runs in the inning to take the lead; 2 — All-time wins for Texas Tech in the CWS, both against the Gators; .444 — Texas Tech’s average with runners in scoring position (4-for-9); .000 — Florida’s average with RISP (0-for-7).

UP NEXT: The Gators face Texas in an elimination game on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET. Texas lost its first game in Omaha earlier on Sunday, falling 11-5 to Arkansas. Florida is 1-2 all-time against the Longhorns in the CWS, losing back-to-back games in the 2005 championship series, and winning 8-4 in its opening game in Omaha in 2011.

FROM THE COACH: Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan on tonight’s game – “It was a great ball game. You gotta credit Texas Tech; they played really well. They played some nice defense early on. They made a nice play in left to lead off the game. And the third baseman made a nice play to his backhand there.

“They just played really well. I think they had a really good approach against Brady. They battled. And give credit to them. I thought they played really, really well tonight. We hit the two-run homer there with Nelly, got it within two. And obviously they scored one in the ninth to get the lead back to three.

“So, once again, credit Texas Tech, we’ll come back Tuesday and be ready to go.”

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