Florida puts away LSU and cap­tures the na­tional ti­tle

Gators sweep the Col­lege World Se­ries fi­nals, de­feat­ing a ri­val from the SEC.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS -

OM­AHA — Maybe this isn’t Florida coach Kevin O’Sul­li­van’s best team. It is, how­ever, his first na­tional cham­pi­onship team.

The Gators scored four runs in the eighth in­ning to pull away from Louisiana State and beat their South­east­ern Con­fer­ence ri­val 6-1 on Tues­day night to com­plete a two-game sweep in the Col­lege World Se­ries fi­nals for the 103-year-old base­ball pro­gram’s first na­tional ti­tle.

Florida (52-19) posted the eighth sweep in the 15 years of the best-of-three fi­nals for­mat.

“Just a gritty group, that’s all I can say,” said O’Sul­li­van, the 10th-year coach who had brought the Gators to Om­aha six of the last eight years. “There are other teams that may be big­ger and stronger. Our start­ing pitch­ing has car­ried us the whole year, but we got some timely hits.”

Florida was in the CWS for the 11th time and pre­vi­ously had made it to the fi­nals in 2005 and 2011, get­ting swept each time.

“They’re a very de­serv­ing na­tional cham­pion,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “I’m happy for Kevin. He works hard, and he has had sev­eral teams that maybe were even bet­ter than this team and sat up here as dis­ap­pointed as I am right now.”

Fresh­man Tyler Dyson (4-0) lim­ited the Tigers (5219) to three hits in six in­nings in only his sec­ond start, and the Gators cap­i­tal­ized on LSU er­rors in the first and sec­ond in­nings to go up 2-0 against Jared Poche (12-4).

Things got in­ter­est­ing after Michael Byrne re­lieved Dyson in the sev­enth. LSU pulled to within 2-1 and would have tied it if not for Jake Slaugh­ter’s be­ing called for run­ner in­ter­fer­ence at sec­ond base for slid­ing into short­stop Dalton Guthrie’s leg as he was throw­ing to first to turn a dou­ble play. Josh Smith, who had run home, was sent back to third.

Kramer Robertson punched a sin­gle into right field lead­ing off the eighth and took sec­ond on a wild pitch. The Tigers had run­ners on the cor­ners when Cole Free­man beat Byrne’s throw to first for a bunt sin­gle. After Byrne struck out Antoine Du­plan­tis, Jack­son Kowar came on to face Greg De­ich­mann.

De­ich­mann grounded Kowar’s first pitch to first, and J.J. Sch­warz threw out Robertson at the plate. Zach Wat­son, the Tigers’ hottest hit­ter in the CWS, then flied out to end the in­ning.

The Gators scored four times in the bot­tom of the eighth. LSU re­liever Zack Hess hit a bat­ter with the bases loaded, Dea­con Liput hit a two-run sin­gle and Sch­warz had a sac­ri­fice fly.

Florida this year brought back one of the na­tion’s top week­end ro­ta­tions in Alex Faedo, Brady Singer and Kowar and a re­liever in Byrne who led the coun­try with a school-record 19 saves.

Com­ple­ment­ing the pitch­ing was a de­fense that ranked in the top 10 in the coun­try.

Out­stand­ing player

Faedo was named the most out­stand­ing player after two strong starts against Texas Chris­tian. Faedo gave up five hits and no runs and struck out 22 in 141⁄3 in­nings against TCU.

Nati Harnik As­so­ci­ated Press

NICK HOR­VATH, top, adds him­self to the pile of Florida play­ers cel­e­brat­ing the Gators’ first na­tional ti­tle in base­ball. Florida cap­i­tal­ized on LSU er­rors in tak­ing an early lead, then scored four times in the eighth.

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