Florida clinches Men’s College World Series berth

Florida clinches Men’s College World Series berth

June 11, 2023

Florida was the first team to clinch a spot in the Men’s College World Series, Wake Forest moved within a win of becoming the first No. 1 national seed to make the final eight of the NCAA Tournament since 2018 and Virginia forced a winner-take-all game in its super regional.

Texas capitalized on Stanford mistakes in the ninth inning to win the opener of its best-of-three series and stay on track for a third straight MCWS.

The No. 2 Gators got a career-best performance from Hurston Waldrep and finished a two-game sweep of Southeastern Conference rival South Carolina with a 4-0 win Saturday. They’ll make their 13th appearance in the CWS – which begins Friday in Omaha, Nebraska – and eighth in 16 seasons under Kevin O’Sullivan.

Wake Forest opened its best-of-three super regional with a 5-4 win over Alabama and can lock up its first MCWS bid with another victory Sunday. There hasn’t been a top national seed in Omaha since Florida in 2018.

Virginia set a school super regional record for runs in a 14-4 victory over Duke to even the series.

Super regional games Saturday night: Tennessee at Southern Mississippi, Kentucky at LSU, Indiana State at TCU and Oral Roberts at Oregon.

Waldrep allowed three hits and struck out 13 in a career-high eight innings for Florida, which had been swept in a three-game series at South Carolina in April and staved of elimination three times in last week’s regionals.

Colby Halter drove in three runs, the first two on a double that opened the scoring in the second inning, and Josh Rivera went 3 for 4 with an RBI.

Projected top-10 overall draft pick Rhett Lowder went 6 1/3 innings for his nation-leading 15th win for Wake Forest and Sean Sullivan struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced. Tommy Hawke, Danny Corona and Justin Johnson homered for the Demon Deacons.

The Deacons now must clear one more obstacle to become the first Wake Forest team to go to Omaha since the one that won the national championship in 1955. Since 1962, they’ve lost seven straight games that sent the winner to the CWS. Saturday’s win gives them two chances, if necessary, to get the one they need.

Jake Gelof hit his Virginia single season-record 23rd home run and three of his teammates also went deep in the win over Duke. Connelly Early struck out eight over seven innings to earn his 12th win, the most by a Virginia pitcher in 12 years.

A miscommunication in the outfield set the stage for Texas’ 7-5 victory at Stanford.

Down three runs, the Longhorns loaded the bases in the ninth on two walks and a hit batter. On Mitchell Daly’s fly ball, center fielder Eddie Park looked as if he would make the catch, but he peeled off just as right fielder Saborn Campbell moved in. The ball glanced off Campbell’s glove, two runs scored, and Porter Brown followed with a single for the go-ahead runs.

Medical delay

The start of the Alabama-Wake Forest game was pushed back 2 hours, 15 minutes because of what was described as a “non-game-related medical event.” The event occurred before the stadium gates were scheduled to open, and fans were not allowed inside until an all-clear was issued.

Around the horn

Of Wake Forest’s 51 wins, only three have been by one run. … Florida has won eight straight games in the super regional round. … Florida’s Waldrep, a transfer from Southern Mississippi, has allowed one run and eight hits over 15 innings in two NCAA tournament starts, with 25 strikeouts and four walks. … Virginia’s Gelof drove in four runs to set the school career RBI record (184).

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