June 24, 2011

CWS Scores & Schedule


Late rally carries Florida to CWS championship series

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


(photos by Jimmy Jones)


OMAHA, Neb. – Second-seeded Florida scored a pair in the bottom of the eighth and held on to edge sixth-seeded Vanderbilt 6-4 Friday afternoon at the 2011 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.


The Gators (53-17) advance to the CWS championship series for the second time and the first since 2005. Florida will face fourth-seeded South Carolina beginning on Monday, June 27, at 7 p.m. CT.


With the score tied at 4, Daniel Pigott had a leadoff single in the eighth for the Gators. . Cody Dent and Nolan Fontana both put down bunts that went for base hits, loading the bases and ending the day for VU starter Sonny Gray. Preston Tucker had a long single to left to plate Pigott with the go-ahead run. Mike Zunino struck out swinging and the ball got by the catcher, allowing Dent to score on the wild pitch as UF took a 6-4 lead.


Gray (12-4) allowed 12 hits and six earned runs in seven-plus innings with five walks and eight strikeouts. He threw 132 pitches.


“I thought the Abs by our hitters were really good,” Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We drove the pitch count up on Sonny. That was our goal because we knew we weren’t going to just sit there and bang away on him.”


Closer Austin Maddox (3-0), pitching for the first time since May 29, allowed two hits in 1.2 scoreless innings to earn the victory. It was the fifth win in six meetings for the Gators against Vanderbilt.


“We had aspirations of taking it a step further,” VU head coach Tim Corbin said. “There’s no complaints with the effort level of the kids. We did everything we possibly could.”


The Commodores got on the board in the top of the first as Aaron Westlake deposited a 1-0 pitch in the bullpen in right, his 18th home run of the season, to give Vanderbilt a 1-0 lead.


Gray (right) worked out of a jam in the bottom of the second. Zunino lead off with a bunt single and moved to second on a walk to Brian Johnson. Josh Adams laid down a bunt on the left side that Gray fielded and threw to third to erase Zunino. Westlake made a nice stop on a grounder in the hole at first by Tyler Thompson, tossing to Gray for the second out. Gray coaxed Pigott to ground out to second to keep the Commodores on top 1-0.


Florida tied it in the third as Dent had a leadoff triple to right center and scored on a groundout by Tucker.


The Gators took the lead in the fourth. Josh Adams and Tyler Thompson had consecutive one-out singles and a two-out walk to Dent loaded the bases. Fontana grounded a base hit up the middle to bring home Adams and Thompson as UF took a 3-1 advantage.


Florida added to its lead in the sixth as Pigott had a leadoff double and eventually scored on a double play to extend the margin to 4-1.


Vandy battled back in the top of the seventh. Mike Yastrzemski had a one-out single, went to third on a two-out base hit by Conrad Gregor and scored on a single by Connor Harrell. Tony Kemp drew a bases-loaded walk to force in Gregor as the Commodores pulled to within one at 4-3.


The Commodores tied it in the eighth. Curt Casali had a one-out single up the middle and moved to third as Yastrzemski and Jason Esposito had infield hits. Gregor was hit by a pitch to force in Casali and knot the score at 4-4.


Pigott and Dent both had two hits and two runs for the Gators. Fontana and Tucker both knocked in a pair.