Florida has waited three years to play in a Super Regional. They could wait another hour and seven minutes, or however long it took for the lightning to clear the area. And boy, it was worth the wait.
The day had already been good to the Gators. A few hours ago, the softball team advanced to the national championship with a walk off win over Auburn. That was awesome to behold, but it also served as a sign of more good things to come. Soon thereafter, the Gator baseball team completed the sweep on the diamond with a win over Florida Atlantic on yet another outstanding pitching performance. In stark contrast to going two and out in each of the last two years in Regional play, Florida swept through the Gainesville Regional with a 19-0 win over FAMU, an 8-2 win over USF and then today’s 2-1 win over FAU.
Now, Florida is back in the Super Regionals for the first time since 2012. They’ll meet either FSU, Auburn or Charleston next weekend in a two out of three series, with a trip to Omaha on the line.
Like it has been all year, today’s win was all about the pitching.
Alex Faedo got the start for Florida, and promptly gave up a run. But then he settled down and FAU never even threatened to score again. Faedo went six innings and only gave up three hits. He also struck out six. He was then relieved by Bobby Poyner, who pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Taylor Lewis similarly silenced FAU in the ninth.
Meanwhile, the Gator offense got the run back in the fourth. Josh Tobias doubled, and then scored on a grounder from JJ Schwarz that was mishandled by the FAU second baseman. Two innings later, Schwarz singled home Richie Martin. And that was that; neither team scored again, so Florida wound up with the win. An ugly win, sure, but still a win.
Florida now gets to sit back and watch the Tallahassee Regional shape out; Charleston is currently playing Auburn in an elimination game, and the winner of that will meet FSU tomorrow in the regional final. They’d have to beat FSU twice to advance, while FSU would only need to win once. The winner of that Region will have to come to Gainesville for the Super Regionals next week- and if Florida keeps playing like this, serve as their next victims.