Da Boot Sports
By: David Penn
OMAHA, NE - Facing elimination, the Florida Gators withstood an early deficit held by the Tigers to emphatically take game 2 of the championship series and force a winner take all game 3.
LSU started the scoring in the first inning when Gavin Dugas hit an RBI double that scored Golden Spikes Award Winner Dylan Crews to give the Tigers a 1-0 advantage.
Ty Evans would answer with a solo shot in the top of the 2nd inning and LSU would add a pair of runs in the home half of the second inning to take a 3-1 lead after two innings of play. Beginning in the 3rd inning, Florida would reel off 23 runs on 22 hits.
“Look at the two teams that are playing,” Jay Johnson said. “These are the two best teams in college baseball. Would I have liked today to have been different? Yeah. I think we were prepared to play at the beginning of the game. And then we asked Nate to get out there and give us everything he could. I’m really excited about tomorrow night. And I know our players are too.”
LSU pitched by committee, Nate Ackenhausen got the start for LSU but only lasted 2 ⅓ innings before loading the bases in the third. Gavin Guidry was the first arm out of the pen and surrendered a grand slam by Ty Evans, Evans’ second long ball of the game in as many at bats.
Hursten Waldrep got the start for FLorida and also only lasted 2 ⅓ innings as LSU got to him early and often.
As a staff LSU recorded 14 strikeouts by 6 different pitchers to only four for the Gators, but Florida put the ball in play throughout the game and a combination of untimely errors, well placed hits, and 6 homeruns kept the Tiger defense on the diamond.
On offense, the Gators had 11 different players record a hit, Wyatt Langford was 5-5, Jake Claglianone was 3-6, and Ty Evans was 3-5. Caglianone and Evans each homered twice in the game, and Langford put one over the left field wall.
The offensive outburst for the Gators began in the 3rd inning with Florida adding six runs in that frame. Florida added 5 runs in both the 6th and 9th innings, four runs in the eighth, two runs in the 7th, and a run in the 4th. The Gators only failed to put up a run in the 1st and 4th innings.
LSU’s final run came in the bottom of the 9th inning when Brayden Jobert launched a two out solo shot with LSU down 21 runs at the time. Florida pitcher Nick Ficarrotta pitched the final five innings for Florida, only allowing LSU 3 hits and one run.
The series will conclude on Monday night at 6:00pm CST, The LSU Tigers will be the away team in the contest for the championship rubber match.
With a win, LSU will record its seventh College World Series Championship, the first since 2009 and the first for LSU Coach Jay Johnson.
Florida has a chance to capture the program’s second championship and the second for Coach Kevin O'Sullivan.
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