Florida baseball staves off elimination with epic clutch performance from Carsten Finnvold

By OnlyGators.com Staff
June 6, 2022
Florida baseball staves off elimination with epic clutch performance from Carsten Finnvold

Image Credit: Chris Kim / UAA

No. 13 Florida Gators baseball staved off elimination from the 2022 NCAA Tournament not once but twice on Sunday with a 6-5 win over Central Michigan followed by a 7-2 defeat of No. 9 Oklahoma in the Gainesville Regional. Both games were engrossing for completely different reasons with the latter featuring one of the most clutch performances in program history.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Carsten Finnvold did not start Sunday night’s contest against OU, but after 11 pitches from sophomore LHP Timmy Manning — including two walks, a hit batter and two wild pitches — he was forced to enter the game with the bases loaded and 27 outs remaining on the board.

Finnvold got all of them.

The Boca Raton, Florida, product threw the equivalent of a complete game when his team needed him the most, allowing five hits and two earned runs while striking out four without a single walk against 30 batters. He retired the first 16 batters he faced, reentered the game in the eighth inning after the Gators scored four runs in the top frame to provide some cushion, and came back out again in the ninth when most expected him to be done for the day with a five-run lead.

Finnvold tossed 116 pitches and registered those 27 outs, every one of them needed by a Florida baseball team that had ripped through its staff after playing four games in three days.

Even more stunning is that Finnvold was not frequently used this season by Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. He had not played since March 26 before O’Sullivan started him in the SEC Tournament championship game against No. 1 Tennessee, an outing in which he struck out six but allowed four runs in 4.2 innings.

“Any adjective I use to describe his outing is not going to do it justice,” O’Sullivan said. “He had to come in in the first, bases loaded, nobody out. Had to rush him down to the pen and he gets out of it. I was just hoping to limit the damage, and the next thing you know, he goes nine. He gives up two runs.

“I really don’t know what to say at this point than other than, I’m really happy for him. The season has not gone the way he probably wanted, but he gave us a great effort against Tennessee. He’s an extremely hard worker. He’s tough … I think he deserves every accolade from this performance.”

Earlier Sunday, Florida gave up a 5-0 lead to CMU, allowing four runs in the bottom of the sixth that tied the game. The Gators eventually won in the top of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by freshman right fielder Ty Evans. O’Sullivan was visibly juiced after redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Slater (3.0 IP, 3 H, BB, 2 K) closed the door on that victory.

In order to advance out of its own regional and continue NCAA Tournament play, Florida will need to beat Oklahoma once again Monday at 1 p.m. ET in a winner-take-all battle. The Gators have not won a regional since 2018 and were swept out of the Gainesville Regional last season.

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