OMAHA, Neb. – It was another dominating start for the Gators.
Sophomore right-hander Brady Singer (pictured) allowed just one run and worked out of trouble in the seventh as third-seeded Florida pulled out a 5-1 victory over seventh-seeded Louisville on Tuesday evening in the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Cardinals (53-11) will face sixth-seeded TCU on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. CT. The winner will meet the Gators (49-18) on Friday at 7 p.m. CT.
Singer (8-5) scattered six hits in seven innings with one walk. Of his 21 outs, nine were strikeouts and eight were on the ground.
“Just trying to pitch to win,” Singer said. “Not trying to be too fine with anything, just pitching both sides of the plate and letting [Kevin O’Sullivan] call the game and executing what he knows.”
Singer started strong, retiring the first five he faced as well as 16 of the first 17 batters.
“He’s got a tough angle,” said Brendan McKay of UL, “and combined with the early shadows we had, what I saw in the second inning was right when he released the ball that’s when the ball disappeared. He’s got a little funky angle to him. When you combine that with velocity and good offspeed pitches, it’s tough to hit.”
Sophomore Deacon Liput was the offensive star for the Gators, going 2 for 3 with a homer, two runs and three RBI
Austin Langworthy lined a pitch off the fair pole in left with one away in the top of the third to give Florida a 1-0 lead.
“The home run by Austin Langworthy was big to get us on the board,” O’Sullivan said. “It was a good thing the wind was blowing across. Got called fair.”
The Gators put together an impressive two-out rally in the fourth. Nelson Maldonado drew a walk and moved to third on a base hit to right by Jonathan India. Liput launched a home run to right on a 1-2 pitch to give UF a 4-0 advantage.
“When I got the two strikes,” Liput said, “my main goal there was to try not to do too much and not get beat by the fastball, and I was able to catch it out front and elevate the baseball.”
Florida posted an add-on run in the seventh as Liput had a leadoff single and scored on a double by Mike Rivera to push the lead to 5-0.
The Cards finally put a rally together against Singer in the bottom of the seventh. McKay had a leadoff double and came home on a two-out base hit by Colin Lyman. A single by Josh Stowers and a walk to Jake Snider loaded the bases. Logan Taylor grounded to short, where Dalton Guthrie scooped it up and stepped on second to end the threat.
“I was getting a little bit tired,” Singer said, “but I just had to fight through it. McKay led off the inning with a double, I had to get a pop-up or a fly and keep him from going to third and get another ground ball and try to get out of it. But Lyman made a good swing on one and put it in the hole to score him. I knew I didn’t need to give up another run, so I had to battle through it and get the third out.”
“[Singer] got us out of the seventh,” O’Sullivan said. “He had to make a couple of big pitches. Did not want to take him out of that situation. Felt like he deserved the opportunity to get through that situation on his own, and he certainly did.”
Nick Horvath took over on the mound in the eighth and retired the first two hitters before McKay delivered his second double of the game. Tyler Dyson entered and got Ellis to foul out to first to end the eighth. Dyson was perfect in the ninth, fanning the final two hitters to secure the win.
The Florida pitching staff has allowed one run in its two CWS wins this season. The Gators blanked TCU 3-0 in their first game in Omaha.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Brady Singer,” said Dan McDonnell, UL head coach. “He was obviously really good tonight. And couldn’t put him in the stretch, we couldn’t put him in many jams. I think we got that one situation in the seventh and we had some really good at-bats and Logan Taylor had a really good at-bat but hit it right to the shortstop. That was our chance.”
Kade McClure (8-4) suffered the loss for the Cards, allowing three hits and four runs in six innings with one walk and nine strikeouts.
“Kade threw well,” McDonnell said. “I thought the stuff was electric. Really good. He just had that one hiccup in the fourth.”