The heat is on as either Florida or Florida St. will be eliminated today via www.theepochtimes.com

2010 College World Series: Florida, Florida St. in Sunshine State Elimination Game

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2010 College World Series: Florida St Eliminates Florida With 8-5 Win

It looked like Florida St.’s two runs in the seventh and one run in the eighth would be superfluous. Bumping a 5-2 lead to an 8-2 lead could have been unnecessary, but on Monday afternoon, those runs were key. Trailing by six runs going into the ninth inning of an elimination game in the College World Series, the Gators put together a rally to make things interesting.

A bases loaded double by Preston Tucker brought home three runs and turned a six run lead into a three run lead. Following a hit by pitch, Mat Zunino came to the plate as the tying run with just one out, but a line drive was snagged at shortstop and flipped it to second base to complete the double play for the game’s final out.

The hero of the game came on the mound, a place that the Seminoles have struggled. Brian Busch held the Gators to just two runs in 5.1 innings to pick up the win for the Seminoles. He turned the ball over to the bullpen and while they had some ninth inning issues, Geoff Parker’s 2.1 scoreless innings loomed large.

It was the top of the Florida St. lineup that did the job for the Seminoles. The top six men in the line up combined for 12 hits and all eight RBI for the Seminoles, led by Mike McGee’s four driven in. McGee hit a home run and picked up a pair of hits and runs scored to go with his four RBI, while Tyler Holt went 3-4 with three runs, two RBI and a home run.

For all the joy in the Seminole dugout, there was as much heartbreak in the Florida dugout, where they saw their season come to an end. The first team eliminated from the 2010 College World Series, the Gators will look to next season to return to Omaha after getting this this season with an incredibly young team. Meanwhile, the Seminoles are still alive and will face the loser of tonight’s UCLA vs. TCU game in an elimination game on Wednesday.

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2010 College World Series: Florida St. Still Leads After Florida Leaves Two

Both Florida St. and Florida were able to put a run on the board in the middle innings, but that’s not good enough for the Gators, who trail 5-2. Like Clemson's much maligned pitching staff earlier in the day, Florida St.'s beleagured staff has put together a great performance on the mound thus far. It's the pitching staffs that nobody believed in who have dominated the affairs to this point today.

The Gators had their best chance to close the gap in the seventh when theuy put two on with only one out, but consecutive pop ups ended the threat. With their best chance to even the game in the past, Florida is now staring elimination in the face. They have six outs left to close a three run gap and that’s assuming they can keep the Seminoles off of the board.

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2010 College World Series: Three Run Homer Puts Florida St. On Top

Coming into today’s elimination game, there wasn’t much talk about Florida St. starting pitcher Brian Busch, unless discussion about how Florida has the edge on the mound over the Seminoles counts as well. It wasn’t an undeserved slight, but merely a reflection of a season’s worth of mediocre pitching at best and poor pitching at worst for the Florida St. right-hander. Well, Busch has been spot on so far and is silencing the Florida bats.

It was the Gators who struck first, getting a RBI single in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Since that run came across to score, Busch has retired eight straight Gators to give the Seminole offense a chance. In the bottom of the first, Tyler Holt hit a solo home run to even up the game and the long ball came into play again in the third, giving the Seminoles a lead. With two men on, Mike McGee got a hold of a hanging breaking ball and smacked it over the wall in left field for a 4-1 Seminole lead.

Now with the lead, Busch can settle in some. If he keeps pitching like he has, the Gators are going to have a tough time getting even, but there is a weakness in the Florida St. bullpen that they can exploit, if they canget to the bullpen. For now, Busch is cruising and Florida starting pitcher Hudson Randall will have to avoid doing what so many other freshmen have done in this situation- crumble.

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2010 College World Series: Florida & Florida St. Both Strike In The First

We’re through one inning at Rosenblatt Stadium between Florida and Florida St. and each team is on the board. The Gators got a run in the top of the first, but Tyler Holt went yard to start the Seminoles’ half of the frame and evened the game at one apiece.

The first inning runs can certainly be attributed to nerves on the part of both starting pitchers, but Florida’s Hudson Randall has already shown to have the best pure stuff. He’s got great movement and a variety of pitches to keep hitters off balance if he can pitch unlike the freshman that he is.

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2010 College World Series: Florida, Florida St. in Sunshine State Elimination Game

Every time a team can clinch a Regional, Super Regional or spot in the Championship Series, there is a lot of drama and pressure, but it's pretty tough to beat the nerves and anxiety that comes with an elimination game. That's what Florida and Florida St. face when they take to the field in the sandwich game of a College World Series triple-header at Rosenblatt Stadium. Add in the in-state rivalry and this game has all the makings of a potential classic.

Florida, the number three national seed, just couldn't get anything to go their way versus UCLA in their College World Series opener. A team that got to Omaha by doing all the little things right, couldn't get the little or big down on Saturday. The Gators were sixth in the nation in fielding percentage, but made costly mistakes versus UCLA. The Gators averaged just .74 wild pitches per game all season, but threw four, two with men at third, on Saturday night. Florida only hit one batter per nine innings this season, but four Bruins were plunked on Saturday and two came hoem to score. It was a nightmare of a game for the young Gators and after that 11-3 loss, they face elimination.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, Florida St. was thoroughly beaten by TCU, even if the score didn't show just how dominant the Horned Frogs were. After the Seminoles got one run in the first on a TCU error, they were outscored 8-0 the rest of the way. From innings two through six, Florida St. didn't manage a single hit, meanwhile, their ace, Sean Gilmartin was struggling with his control and getting hit hard whenever he found the plate. Most depressing for Seminoles fans is that after they lost the lead, Florida St. showed no signs of ever getting back in the game. They couldn't put together a rally or threaten the comfortable Horned Frogs all day.

With their backs against the wall, both Florida and Florida St. will come out blazing this afternoon. If the Noles are to get past the Gators, they'll have to best the sensational freshman, Hudson Randall. With a 8-3 record and 2.95 ERA this season, Randall has been as reliable as the Gators have, but there's always those freshman jitters on the big stage that could change things.

Breaking down the teams part by part, you have a Gator team that is better on the mound, much better in the bullpen and at least equal, if not better at the plate. If Florida gets back to their regular season defensive work, they shouldn't have trouble beating the Seminoles, but an elimination game brings out the desperation that can flip a game on its head. So, who will be the first team eliminated from the College World Series?

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