Atrocious weather ripped through north Florida Sunday, delaying the Tallahassee super regional’s second game for seven and a half hours, then entirely washing out the Gainesville super in the middle of the sixth inning. All eight supers were done by end of day Sunday except Gainesville, so Florida and Wake Forest needed to make amends on Monday. Florida took Saturday night’s opener, 2-1, in 11 innings.
Wake opened Game 2 on top, 5-4, but Florida soon tied it up in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly. The Demon Deacons’ Johnny Aiello answered with a solo shot to left in the bottom of the seventh, his second home run in the game.
Florida catcher JJ Schwartz then answered in the top of the eighth with his own solo homer over left, which landed somewhere out near the Gators’ basketball facility. Schwartz has struggled at the plate lately, and he was one of two hit batsmen in the super’s wild 11-inning opener on Saturday night.
Nobody could do any damage through the rest of the game, though, so thus knotted at 6 all to extra innings they went. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Wake’s Gavin Sheets broke through with a single to right, then big bat Ben Breazeale homered in the same direction and the Deacs took Game 2, 8-6. Suddenly the best of three series was tied up at one game apiece, forcing a rubber match later in the afternoon.
This was Wake Forest’s first super regional win in program history, and the game was remarkable for featuring seven home runs between the two teams.
And wouldn’t you know it but Game 3 could barely get two innings in before yet another delay sent the teams scurrying to the clubhouse. Florida had scored a run in the bottom of the second, then the game was suspended in the top of the third. Florida’s starter, Brady Singer, was understandably pissed the hell off.
So, after play was suspended around 4 p.m. ET, the teams retook the field just after 8:15 p.m., and righty Tyler Dyson took the hill in place of Singer. Dyson earned a hit early in the inning, but pitched his way out of the jam to get back to the dugout with no nicks.
In the bottom of the same frame, Schwartz picked his bat up from where he had left off in the early game to crush a solo homer to left, which landed in or around the same area his earlier mash had. That was a notable hit, since Schwartz had then struck two home runs in two separate games on the same day, whereas Wake’s Aiello had hit two home runs in a single game on consecutive days. What the hell.
Schwartz’s two-run shot carried the 3-0 score through the next few innings, wherein Wake struggled to manufacture hits under the onslaught of Gators’ slinger Dyson. But the Deacs’ Sheets again found his way through Florida’s defense in the top of the seventh for a snappy double to right center, and Wake found themselves with a runner in scoring position. That buildup ended abruptly, though, as the ever dangerous Aiello popped out to end the inning, and the stretch was on.
Strong arm Florida ace Alex Faedo entered to start the eighth, and after two Deacons reached base he struck out Jake Mueller to maintain a clean sheet. The Gators couldn’t do anything in the bottom of the frame, and it was up to the ninth inning to decide this year’s eighth and final College World Series team.
In the end, Faedo’s stuff destroyed Wake’s hitters, and the Gators are marching off to Omaha. A 3-0 victory after more than 24 hours worth of delays. What a crazy damn series this was.
Schedule and scores for NCAA baseball tournament super regional round (national seeds in parentheses)
All times Eastern
Baton Rouge super regional
Game 1: LSU (4) def. Mississippi State, 4-3 (LSU leads, 1-0)
Game 2: LSU (4) elimin. Mississippi State, 14-4 (LSU advances to College World Series)
College Station super regional
Game 1: Texas A&M def. Davidson, 7-6 (15 innings; Texas A&M leads, 1-0)
Game 2: Texas A&M elimin. Davidson, 12-6 (Texas A&M advances to College World Series)
Corvallis super regional
Game 1: Oregon State (1) def. Vanderbilt, 8-4 (Oregon State leads, 1-0)
Game 2: Oregon State (1) elimin. Vanderbilt, 9-2 (Oregon State advances to College World Series)
Fort Worth super regional
Game 1: TCU (6) def. Missouri State, 3-2 (TCU leads, 1-0)
Game 2: TCU (6) elimin. Missouri State, 8-1 (TCU advances to College World Series
Gainesville super regional
Game 1: Florida (3) def. Wake Forest, 2-1 (11 innings; Florida leads, 1-0)
Game 2: Wake Forest def. Florida, 8-6 (11 innings; series tied, 1-1)
Game 3: Florida (3) elimin. Wake Forest, 3-0 (Florida advances to College World Series)
Long Beach super regional
Game 1: Long Beach State def. Cal State Fullerton, 3-0 (Long Beach State leads, 1-0)
Game 2: Cal State Fullerton def. Long Beach State, 12-0 (series tied, 1-1)
Game 3: Cal State Fullerton elimin. Long Beach State, 2-1 (Cal State Fullerton advances to College World Series)
Louisville super regional
Game 1: Louisville (7) def. Kentucky, 5-2 (Louisville leads, 1-0)
Game 2: Louisville (7) elimin. Kentucky, 6-2 (Louisville advances to College World Series)
Tallahassee super regional
Game 1: Florida State def. Sam Houston State, 7-6 (Florida State leads, 1-0)
Game 2: Florida State elimin. Sam Houston State, 19-0 (Florida State advances to College World Series)