Florida and Mississippi State's NCAA Super Regional matchup in Gainesville looked like a mismatch after the Gators' 11-1 win on Friday. And Florida did eventually prevail, winning 8-6 in Sunday's Game Three, but not until after one a stirring, topsy-turvy series.
Florida pounced early in Game Three, building a 4-0 lead in the first two innings on home runs by Mike Zunino, Daniel Pigott, and Vickash Ramjit, but let some of that lead erode when starter Alex Panteliodis gave up a three-run homer to the Bulldogs' Game 2 hero, Nick Vickerson, in the fourth inning.
Florida then lost its lead in the sixth inning: Nick Maronde was lifted after putting two men on, and Tommy Toledo let three runs score on singles by Vickerson and Brent Brownlee, putting the Gators in a 6-4 hole.
But the feisty Gators weren't done: Florida took the lead for good in the seventh inning, after Preston Tucker's three-run homer made up for Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan inexplicably having Zunino bunt, and added to that lead in the eighth inning on Pigott's second homer of the day.
Toledo worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal Florida's victory.
For Florida, it's a second consecutive trip to the College World Series, the first time the Gators have headed to Omaha in back-to-back years in school history.
For more on the 2011 NCAA Super Regionals, visit our NCAA Super Regionals hub.