Gators Head Back To College World Series After Winning Long Rain Soaked Super Regional
By Chris Harry, Florida Gators // June 12, 2017
series endured 9 hours, 55 minutes of rain delays
BALL GAME!!!! OMAHA FOR THE @FloridaGators!!! pic.twitter.com/eLPh97D6Y5
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) June 13, 2017
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – The Florida Gators baseball team is heading back to a familiar setting in hopes of returning to Gainesville with a different outcome.
Junior J.J. Schwarz smashed a two-run homer, Tyler Dyson pitched five innings of scoreless relief and ace Alex Faedo finished matters by closing the final two innings of their decisive Super Regional Game 3 and sending the No. 4 Gators to their third straight College World Series.
The 14th-ranked Demon Deacons forced a winner-take-all game with an 8-6 win, thanks to a Ben Breazeale walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th to end a Game 2 that was suspended Sunday night and resumed early Monday afternoon.
In Game 3, UF took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on consecutive singles from Deacon Liput, Jonathan India and Mike Rivera.
And after enduring yet another brutal rain delay — the third in as many days; this one 3 hours, 14 minutes — Dalton Guthrie stroked a leadoff single and scored when Schwarz stepped up next and crushed a towering shot over the bleachers in left field.
Dyson took over from there and allowed just two hits over the next five innings before giving way to Faedo, who an hour earlier was taken in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Faedo gave up one hit and fanned three, including Breazeale to end the game and set off a celebration at McKethan Stadium.
Post-game @GatorsBB interviews. #GoGators https://t.co/CB2vyKcbKC
— Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) June 13, 2017
PLAY OF THE GAME: Schwarz’s homer was his second of the day. He mashed one earlier in Game 2, but the Gators made this one count — all the way to Omaha.
It was his 12th of the season and 37th of his career, moving Schwarz into sole possession of seventh place on UF’s all-time home run list.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Dyson, who threw two innings in the early game, took over for Brady Singer after the long delay, gave up a leadoff single to the first batter he faced then set down the next 13 Wake Forest batters he faced before giving up a one-out double to Gavin Sheets in the seventh.
He then struck out Game 2 hero Breazeale swinging and Johnny Aiello, who hit two homers in Game 2, to foul out to right. With all the rain delays, someone had to step up for the UF staff.
Dyson was the unlikely hero, for sure. He went five innings, gave up the two hits and struck out seven.
STAGGERING STATISTIC: So, the start of Super Regional Game 1 Saturday was delayed by rain for 3 hours, 49 minutes.
Game 2 on Sunday had a delayed start of 22 minutes and then was suspended for 2 hours and 46 minutes before being suspended to resume on Monday.
And, of course, Game 3 was suspended at 5:01 p.m. and delayed for 3 hours and 14 minutes before resuming at 8:15.
All told, that’s 9 hours, 55 minutes — or 595 minutes — worth of rain delays here in “Rainesville,” which was longer than the length of the first two games combined.
UP NEXT: Given the circumstances, the NCAA folks are doing to the right thing and giving the Gators (47-18) a Sunday night CWS opener against Texas Christian (47-16), which will be making its fourth consecutive trip to Omaha.
The game will begin at 7 p.m. ET. Florida is going back to college baseball’s showcase event for a third straight season, equaling the mark established from 2010-12, and for the 11th in school history.
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