College World Series: Gators 6, Virginia 5 — UF rallies in bottom of 9th for dramatic comeback win. Down by two runs in the bottom of the 9th, the Gators rallied to win their first game in the College World Series.
what happened: The Gators won their first College World Series game in dramatic fashion, beating Virginia 6-5 off an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth by designated hitter Luke Heyman. Trailing 5-3 to start the game, Ty Evans hit a solo home run to make it 5-4, and two batters later, Wyatt Langford hit a single from Charles Schwab to tie the game. The Gators didn’t stop there as Heyman lined the game-winning fly ball to center field to load the bases with one out. Evans went 2-for-2 after subbing for Richie Schickofer in the bottom of the seventh, finishing with a double and a homer.
Gameplay: For the rest of the CWS, they talk about Langford’s home run at the Left Field Concert in Omaha. Langford blasted a 456-foot bomb over Cavaliers reliever Jake Berry to make it 1-0, tying the game and creating a buzz that would last the rest of the ballpark. Langford went 2 for 23 from the ballpark with a home run to the plate. Berry also allowed just three home runs in 48 2/3 innings. He served up three homers in 1 2/3 innings Friday.
Stagger Stats: Virginia led 46-0 after eight innings to begin the bottom of the ninth. The Cavs were now 46-1 after Florida scored three runs and three hits in the final frame.
In the spotlight Brandon Sproat continued his strong streak for the Gators starters. Sproat went 6 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and three runs. He walked three and struck out seven in his first CWS outing. Sprott threw 109 innings, 73 for strikes, and didn’t get in trouble until the seventh.
Key moment: Sprott threw 88 pitches, retired seven of the last eight batters and struck out five of six in the seventh inning. After a 1-2-3 start in the sixth, Sproat walked Virginia leadoff hitter Ethan Anderson to start the seventh. That spelled doom for the great right-hander. By the end of the game, Sproat was in the dirt, two UF relievers had pitched in the inning, and the Cavs led 4-1.
And so he said. “There were a lot of things that went into it. I thought Brandon Sproat was really good. Those at-bats in the ninth were really solid at-bats. I thought I hit the ball right. The wind changed in the seventh. We hit a couple balls in the ninth. If you win there, you don’t expect them. You guys have to put on a special performance. I couldn’t be happier for T. It’s a game like that he’ll never forget. He was a big part of our win. – Lords coach Kevin O’Sullivan on the comeback win.
In numbers: 24,801 – announced attendance for the Florida-Virginia game; 12 – Fly balls to Virginia starter Nick Parker in six innings; 21 – Returning wins for the Gators this season.
Opening statement from head coach Kevin O’Sullivan…
“It was a really well played game. We knew it was going to be a very fundamentally sound game on both sides. Virginia played very well. He gave us nothing. But the pride of these people, the way they hang in there. Brandon was great tonight. Neely was good for two and three, really effective. 30 pitches or more, throw 32 pitches. But, you know, if Sproat and Neely hadn’t done what they did, we wouldn’t have had a chance there in the ninth. And we obviously have some big bats in Wyatt and Ty Evans. what can you say This guy hung in there, he fought. Maybe he’s a little disappointed with his playing time this year, but he had a big double and a big home run tonight. And obviously Beatty had the biggest home run. And then Luke Heyman singled to center field to make it 2-0. Special things happen this year. We are proud of the team for the way we fought.
On the big home run…
“It’s surprising, because the first six, seven innings the wind was blowing and I thought we had some good at-bats and we didn’t have much to show for it. Then you look up at the eighth and the flag doesn’t move at all. Crazy how that happens. But it happens here often. But he can be tough and sometimes the game doesn’t go the way you want it to, but you know how I feel about him. He is one of the best players we have ever had. He has a knack for going on the show with a couple of others. I think the house run by T, I think that really gave a lot of energy to the diggers. And we were still down by one run. But we know Wyatt and Cags and the rest of the guys are coming after them. But you don’t think he will run to the ball as a coach in that situation; They hope he has a good at-bat and a good result. But the effect was obviously huge for us at the time.
On what allows this team to come from behind in a series…
“We had a chance to hit the ball out of the park. One swing of the bat, you can hit a two-run homer or a three-run homer, you feel like you can come back. It’s not like we have to hit three, four, five in an inning to score. It was very important. Even in the ninth Even though we gave up a run and got two downs, like I said, we got T’s home run in one. And obviously that’s when Cade came up and hit it. But then I think White’s hit was a changeup and you guys obviously saw the rest of the game. When you have talent – it’s like feast or famine here. Three-pointer. You feel like a run homer can get you back in the game. But if the wind’s blowing, it’s not going to do anything for you. I talked to Chuck about the sixth, maybe we’re going to score a run, hit and run because the wind was blowing. If the wind is blowing, it’s going to be tough to get out of here. And the wind. It’s crazy how it’s changed, and it doesn’t take long to feel really big. I think the wind was blowing seven or eight miles an hour. He saw the flags all of a sudden, they weren’t moving. He felt, OK, if we can walk here and get back to the top of the order — because every time we flipped the lineup, we went back up. , we feel like we have a chance to score that inning. And that happened tonight.
* Florida gets its first walk-off victory in the College World Series.
* The win marked UF’s fourth straight road campaign.
* The Gators are now 22-24 all-time in the CWS and 126-84 in the NCAA Tournament.
* UF posted its 21st come-from-behind win of the season.
* Florida is playing in its 13th College World Series and eighth in the Kevin O’Sullivan era: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2023.
* Before today, Virginia was 46-0 this season when leading after eight innings – now 46-1.
* Riopelle hit his 17th home run, including the seventh of the 2023 postseason.
* Evans hit his fifth home run of the season in the ninth to bring Florida within one run.
* Marked Evans’ first homer since April 11 against Florida State.
* Langford hit his 19th home run of the season to tie the game at 5-5 with one out in the ninth.
* Sprott has gone five-plus innings in 26 of his last 28 starts since last season, allowing just three earned runs in 21 outings.
* The right-hander has fired four straight quality starts.
* Florida now has 132 home runs this season, tied for the single-season program record set by the 1998 team (132).
* Since facing elimination in the NCAA Regionals, Florida has gone 6-0, outscoring opponents 36-12.
* Florida hit 11 home runs while allowing just two.
* Halter put Florida on the board with a second-inning RBI single, marking UF’s fourth RBI in the last two contests.
* Neely picked up his first win of the 2023 campaign.
* Florida struck out 662 batters in 559 innings — translating to 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, a new program record.
* The Giants have 637 hits in 66 games (9.7 hits/game).
* The Giants have scored in 44.0% of pitched innings (237 of 539).
* Florida is 6-3 against Virginia with a 3-3 mark in the NCAA tournament.
* The Gators are 2-2 against the Cavaliers under O’Sullivan, all in Omaha.
Next: The comeback win keeps the Gators in the winners bracket where they will face Oral Roberts on Sunday at 7 p.m. Oral Roberts won its CWS opener Friday 6-5 over TCU with a ninth-inning comeback.
(Exclusive to 1st and Ten Florida by Florida Athletics)