The Florida Gators booked a ticket to the College World Series final on Friday afternoon and remained perfect in Omaha with a 6-4 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Commodores clawed back after falling to Florida earlier in the week, eliminating North Carolina in a loser-out game on Wednesday to set up the rematch. The Gators only needed to win once in two attempts, but took care of business right away to take drama out of the equation.
Florida fell behind early, giving up a run in the top of the first on an Aaron Westlake home run. In the third, the Gators got the run back before scoring two more in the fourth take take a 3-1 lead. Florida added one more in the sixth and were seemingly in control, leading 4-1 heading into the late innings.
Vanderbilt did make it interesting, though, scoring two in the seventh and another in the eighth to knot the game at four. But in the bottom of the eighth, the Gators seized control for good, scoring two runs that turned out to be the game-winners. Preston Tucker singled, bringing Daniel Pigott home for the go-ahead run. The next batter, Mike Zunino, struck out and would've ended the inning, had the pitch not gotten by the Vanderbilt catcher. As it was, Zunino ended up on first and Cody Dent came around to score, giving the Gators an insurance run.
A scoreless top of the ninth ended the Commodores hopes and Florida advanced to the College World Series finals. The Gators will face either South Carolina or Virginia in the finals. The Gamecocks and Cavaliers play Friday evening, but Virginia must win twice -- on Friday and Saturday -- to advance.
For the latest on the tournament, head to the 2011 College World Series hub. You can find recaps of the opening round matchups, as well as previews of each team in the tournament there.