Gamecock Streak Ends, Gators Sent Packing…
Elimination Game: Kent State defeats Florida 5-4
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OMAHA, Neb. — That smell wafting through the air you may have smelled just after 8 pm Eastern Monday night was a barbeque in Omaha. As in two and ‘que…as in the Florida Gators at the College World Series.
The team that was the preseason number one and held that ranking for a great deal of the season came into its third CWS with the No. 1 national seed and a national championship in its sights.
Instead of hoisting a title trophy though head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s team is feeling the weight of a second 0-and-2 Omaha performance in the last three seasons after falling 5-4 to Kent State in the second elimination game at TD Ameritrade Park in as many days.
“The game was not decided by the umpires,” O’Sullivan said after being asked about a questionable strikeout in the ninth inning. “The game was decided by both teams playing. We made a couple errors in the first and second, and they capitalized and got two runs there in the bottom of the second. That was the difference in the ballgame. Simple as that. The umpires had nothing to do with it.”
The Gators left the bases loaded to end the game.
The downfall started when Florida starting pitcher Hudson Randall was tended to behind by O’Sullivan and the Gator training staff. Randall would get the final out, but he would not return to the hill for the second inning due to heat related illness. The heat index was above 100 during the game. It was the hottest start time temperature at the CWS since 2001.
Jonathon Crawford, two weeks removed from an NCAA Tournament no-hitter, pitched the next three innings, but Florida trailed 5-1 by the time he exited.
Kent State starter Ryan Bores earned the win after going six strong innings. He allowed two runs on six hits while withstanding the blistering Omaha heat to improve to 10-3.
“That’s the most important thing that we wanted as a team and as a program, and as a university was to make a statement that we belong here,” head coach Scott Stricklin said after the first CWS victory in program history. “We’re not a fluke. We’re a really good baseball team. That is the biggest win in school history.”
The Golden Flashes played the game with heavy hearts. Designated hitter Jason Bagoly’s mother passed away just before the start of the CWS. He was on deck on Saturday when Kent State’s 8-1 loss to Arkansas ended.
“The last couple nights I’ve really been wrestling with the decision,” Stricklin said of Bagoly’s heart breaking situation and whether or not to play him. “I was really disappointed in myself that I didn’t get him in (on Saturday). I should have had him bat in the second or third inning and I was disappointed he didn’t get that at‑bat.”
“We talked about it as a staff and we went back and forth. You think about the ramifications if he has a bad game. He gets out there and plays, and things go wrong. I think that shows you what kind of kid he is, and how tough he is. It gave our team a lift. It really did.”
Bagoly will return home on Tuesday for his mother, Cheryl McHenry’s, funeral. Kent State players have been wearing a “CM” logo on the bills of their hats in her honor.
Kent State starting pitcher Ryan Bores
Florida catcher & first round MLB Draft pick Mike Zunino
Kent State head coach Scott Stricklin
Arkansas defeats South Carolina 2-1…
The king is not quite dead, but an historic NCAA Tournament run has come to an end. Two-time defending national champion South Carolina fell 2-1 to SEC rival Arkansas on Monday in Omaha to see its NCAA postseason record 22-game winning streak come to a screeching halt.
The win moves the Razorbacks to 2-0 in the 2012 CWS, while the Gamecocks drop to 1-1 and facing elimination in Omaha for the first time in two years. Thy had won 12 straight games at the College World Series.
South Carolina’s last NCAA Tournament/CWS loss came on June 20, 2010 with a 4-3 setback to Oklahoma. They rattled off a total of six straight wins, including four elimination game victories, to claim the program’s first national championship.The Gamecocks won six Regional and four Super Regional victories over the next two seasons as well as five straight wins at the 2011 CWS en-route to their second straight national crown.
Arizona is the other 2-0 team at the 2012 CWS, marking the first time since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams and the introduction of Super Regional play that two non-national seeds have gone 2-0 in Omaha.
South Carolina next faces Kent State in Wednesday’s elimination game. Head coach Ray Tanner has not decided who his starting pitcher will be.
Florida State and UCLA meet in Tuesday’s elimination game at 8 pm ET in the other bracket’s elimination game.
South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner
Arkansas pitcher Ryne Stanek