GAINESVILLE, Fla. – For the second straight game of the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional, a dominant pitching performance led to a victory.
And now Florida State knows how it feels to be on the receiving end.
Florida’s Logan Shore, the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year and a second-round pick in the MLB draft earlier this week, threw eight innings and held Florida State to two hits as the Gators evened the Super Regional series with a 5-0 victory.
Game 3 is set for Monday at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.
“He’s beautiful,” FSU coach Mike Martin said of Shore. “He just carved us up.”
Shore’s performance was reminiscent of that of FSU’s Drew Carlton, who a little more than 24 hours earlier shut down Florida with a complete-game, two-hit shutout.
So if Game 3 is anything like the first two, expect excellent pitching and a low final score.
Florida State will send freshman Cole Sands (6-6, 4.21 ERA) to duel with UF’s A.J. Puk (2-3, 3.21), who was drafted sixth overall last Thursday.
So the Seminoles will once again have little margin for error if they’re to reach the College World Series.
But they’ve still got plenty of reason to believe.
Perhaps the biggest return for the Noles lies in the pitching staff, as Meghan King will enter next season with a wealth of experience. Having both pitched in a Women’s College World Series and come up just short in her first few years, King will be ready to lead the Noles in the circle.
FSU has already shown it can beat the No. 1 Gators in their own house. And the Seminoles have already seen a freshman pitch well enough to keep themselves in the game.
That would be Tyler Holton, who accounted well for himself by allowing just two runs – one of them unearned – and striking out six in six innings of work.
“I can’t say enough about the way this freshman pitched tonight,” Martin said. “He really gave his team a chance. It’s just that Logan Shore didn’t give us a chance.”
And so Monday offers what should be the best stage that college baseball can offer this side of Omaha.
Two longtime rivals meeting once again, in primetime, with a visit to the College World Series at stake. And a chance to advance at the other’s expense, too.
“This is what you come to these schools for,” said FSU senior John Sansone, who is looking to punch his first ticket to Omaha. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
FSU has recent experience rallying from a challenge.
Just a month ago, the Seminoles had lost six of eight games before reeling off a run of eight wins in nine tries. That includes two victories over Miami – which clinched a spot in Omaha on Sunday afternoon – and, of course, Saturday’s shutout against UF.
That stretch includes two of Sands’ best starts of the season. He’s allowed just five combined hits and two runs in his last two outings.
“We’ve just got to keep the faith and stay confident,” Sansone said.
“Our young men are ready to come out and compete tomorrow,” Martin said. “I’m very proud of our young men. And I just hope that we can play better than we did tonight, and see what happens.”