OMAHA, Neb. – Alex Faedo looked like a first-round pick on Sunday evening.
The Florida junior was dominant, allowing two hits and two walks in seven scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts as the third-seeded Gators blanked sixth-seeded TCU 3-0.
“I thought it was all-around good game,” Faedo said. “The offense kept putting pressure on them, and it made it a lot more comfortable for me. It gave me a lot of rest between innings, and that helped me a lot.”
Faedo (8-2) allowed a leadoff single to Cam Warner in the second and a base hit by Nolan Brown in the fourth. Both runners were picked off.
“Obviously it started on the mound for us,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, UF head coach. “I think it was important for us to get an early lead. I think we got one in the first there with a lead-off walk. And Alex was special. He certainly was the difference tonight. And Michael did a nice job there at the end. We did just enough offensively, but this is who we are and this is what we’ve been doing all year long.”
Faedo was the 18th overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft, taken by the Detroit Tigers.
“Faedo was outstanding,” said Jim Schlossnagle, TCU head coach. “We had a game plan going against him. Having a game plan and executing against a great pitcher are two different things. It was his night, no question. But he continued to make pitches.”
The Horned Frogs (47-17) had their best chance to score in the third. Trailing 1-0, TCU used a pair of walks and an error to load the bases with one away. Faedo fanned the next two hitters to escape trouble.
“That was huge,” Faedo said. ” I feel like there’s always at least one time in the game where something like that will happen to me, where there’s either bases loaded or a couple of guys on, and you have to find a way to get out of that because you know when you get out of that big situation the other team may fold up a little bit or we get a little bit more confident. And if you can get through that hump, then we always find a way to win, and I think it brings a lot more energy to the team.”
UF plated its initial run in the first. Ryan Larson earned a leadoff walk, moved to second on a failed pickoff, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a grounder to short by JJ Schwarz.
The Gators added a run in the fourth. Mike Rivera drew a one-out walk, went to third on a single by Austin Langworthy and scored on a base hit by Christian Hicks to make it a 2-0 game.
The final run of the game came in the fifth. Dalton Guthrie (2 for 3) had a leadoff single, moved to third on a base hit by Schwarz and came home on a single by Nelson Maldonado as the lead grew to 3-0.
Jared Janczak (9-1) suffered his first loss of the season, going 4.0 innings with six hits, three runs, five walks and four strikeouts.
“Jared just had a bad night,” Schlossnagle said. “The guy’s been money in the bank when he’s been healthy the whole season. But tonight, for whatever reason, he was behind in the count. He Let the lead-off hitter on a fair amount of the time,”
Michael Byrne worked the final two innings and worked around three hits to record his 17th save. Byrne fanned four, giving UF a combined 15 strikeouts.
Warner finished with two hits for TCU, including a double.