Florida Gators baseball advances to first College World Series since 2018 with Super Regional win

By OnlyGators.com Staff
June 10, 2023
Florida Gators baseball advances to first College World Series since 2018 with Super Regional win

Image Credit: UAA

Continuing its inspired play by completing a two-game sweep of the Gainesville Super Regional on Saturday afternoon, the No. 2 Florida Gators baseball team clinched a berth to the 2023 College World Series beginning next week. Florida took down the No. 15 South Carolina Gamecocks in consecutive meetings at Condron Family Ballpark, following a narrow 5-4 victory Friday night with a 4-0 shutout effort on the back of junior right-handed pitcher Hurston Waldrep.

The Gators will play in the CWS for the first time since 2018 and 13th time in program history, significantly turning their fortunes on a dime with a five-game winning streak following an untimely loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders last week in the Gainesville Regional. Since that frustrating defeat, Florida has outscored its opponents 30-7 with Waldrep a major reason why.

The third-year starter has struck out 25 batters over his last two starts, catching 13 such hitters cold as part of a three-hitter in a career-high 8.0 innings on Saturday. Across his 15.0 combined innings in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, he has allowed just one earned run with eight hits and four walks.

“I don’t even know what to say at this point,” Waldrep told ESPN after getting doused in ice-cold water. “This was the most awesome thing I could ever dream of. This crowd, this team, this is amazing. This is what you pay college baseball for. This is why you come to this level. This is what you want to do.”

Junior third baseman Colby Halter opened scoring with a two-run double down the right-field line in the second. Junior shortstop Josh Rivera added an RBI single in the fifth, and Halter lifted a sacrifice fly in the eighth to score senior catcher BT Riopelle as an insurance run in the eighth.

Waldrep came out for the ninth to attempt a complete game at the behest of Riopelle but was pulled after allowing a freak short-hop single to the first batter he faced. Sophomore RHP Brandon Neely wasted little time completing the inning for his second save of the Super Regional and 13th of the season.

The Gators on Saturday improved to 8-0 in Super Regional play since 2010 — all hosted in Gainesville, Florida. They are 9-1 all-time hosting a Super Regional and 9-2 overall in the tournament round since the format was changed in 1999.

Florida won its lone national championship in 2017 under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. It failed to reach the championship series in its last CWS appearance and has only done so two other times in program history (2005, 2011).

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