The great pitching match-up wasn't quite so. One elite pitcher had his shortest start of the season and the other was undone by bad defense, but while the type of game wasn't expected, the result was. Florida got a big game from Bryson Smith, who reached base in all five plate appearance, scored twice and drove in a pair, as they topped Texas on the opening day of the College World Series. With the win, the Gators advance to the winner's bracket where they will play Vanderbilt, while the Longhorns will do battle with North Carolina in an elimination game.
Errors helped get Texas on the board first. Consecutive errors put two men on with nobody out in the third inning and after a single the Longhorns had themselves a 1-0 lead. A sacrifice fly by Mark Payton followed and the Longhorns had stretched their lead some. The damage wasn't done though. Another single was followed by another sacrifice fly and Texas were up 3-0 on the favored Gators.
Taylor Jungmann was one of the nation's best pitchers all season and a first round pick in the MLB Draft, but he's struggled in the postseason with losses in the Regionals and Super Regionals. It didn't get any better in the College World Series as the Gators touched him up for five runs, four earned, in just 4.1 innings, which is his shortest outing of the season.
The Gators' comeback started quickly as they tallied two in the bottom half of the third. Jungmann walked the first two batter of the inning and Smith cashed one in with a RBI single to right. Then Texas gifted Florida one with a wild pitch followed by a passed ball, scoring another run to make it 3-2.
Florida had cut into the Texas lead in the third, but they grabbed it for good in the fourth. A two-out walk was followed by a double by Daniel Pigott that tied the game at three apiece. Then Cody Dent knocked a RBI double of his own that put the Gators on top, 4-3.
A double by Preston Tucker in the fifth inning scored Smith and gave the Gators a bit of a cushion at 5-4, but the Longhorns cut into that quickly. Texas' Jordan Etier doubled to score a run for the Longhorns and in the middle of the sixth Florida had just a one-run lead.
It took all of a half inning for the Gators to add to their lead again though. With two outs and two on Brian Johnson lifted one deep to right center. It cleared the fence before bouncing off a further wall to separate the fans from the action and bouncing back into play. It should have gone for a three-run homer, but the umpires incorrectly ruled that it didn't get over the fence and instead it was just a two RBI double. It didn't matter though. The Gators were up 7-4 and after Smith singled a run home in the eighth, it was 8-4 in favor of Florida.
Hudson Randall allowed just one earned run on five hits in 6.2 innings for the Gators, but two errors led to three unearned runs. Even so, Randall picked up the win, while Jungmann absorbed the loss, dropping him to 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament. Nick Maronde worked two scoreless innings and struck out three to earn the save.