The Florida Gators didn’t score often on Monday night, but when they did, it was electric.
A Jonathan India homer in the first inning put the Gators on the board with the early lead. In the fourth inning, Blake Reese pulled off the rare steal of home (with some help from Nick Horvath).
Tied 2-2 after nine, the game went to extra innings. It was another home run, this time from Austin Langworthy, that broke the tie and sent the defending national champions back to Omaha.
Adam Silverstein of OnlyGators.com captured the thrilling finish and shared via Twitter.
Austin Langworthy makes the defending champions OKC-worthy. pic.twitter.com/1fcO3ItZJx
— OnlyGators.com 🐊 Florida Gators news (@onlygators) June 12, 2018
It will be Florida’s 12th trip to the College World Series and seventh under coach Kevin O’Sullivan. Sully’s squad knocked off LSU last season to win the first baseball national title in school history.
UF hopes the CWS saved the best for last. The Gators were the eighth of eight teams to win their Super Regional. Two other SEC teams, Mississippi State and Arkansas, are also making the trip. Florida will face Texas Tech on Sunday.
Monday night, O’Sullivan turned to freshman Jack Leftwich as his starter for the elimination game. Leftwich tossed five innings and allowed only one earned run before handing off to Tommy Mace, who tossed two innings and gave up an unearned run. The win goes to record-holding closer Michael Byrne. With the game on the line, Byrne tossed four scoreless frames, showing no hangover from allowing the walk-off hit on Sunday. Byrne had his best stuff, recording an impressive five strikeouts on the night.