Texas Tech downs No. 1 Florida in College World Series

The Texas Tech Red Raiders broke through in the middle innings with five unanswered runs off Florida ace Brady Singer en route to a 6-3 victory Sunday night at the College World Series.

In the CWS opener for both teams, the Red Raiders scored a run in the fourth inning and two each in the fifth and the sixth to erase an early one-run deficit and open a 5-1 lead on the top-seeded team in the NCAA tournament.

Florida rallied on a two-run homer in the seventh by Nelson Maldonado, drawing the defending national champions to within two.

But Texas Tech added one run for insurance in the ninth when Gabe Holt produced an RBI single, making it 6-3. Holt led Tech at the plate with two hits and three RBI.

Red Raiders pitchers Dylan Dusek, Ryan Shetter and Ty Harpenau combined to hold the Gators to five hits.

Texas Tech will advance in the winners’ bracket to meet the Arkansas Razorbacks Tuesday night. Florida and Texas will play in an elimination game on Tuesday afternoon.

Arkansas beat Texas 11-5 in an earlier game Sunday. The series is being played at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Quotable

Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock:

“First of all, great atmosphere. Great crowd. City of Omaha does a great job. It’s the best place in the world to play baseball in June. Brady Singer’s a handful. So is (Jordan) Butler and (Michael) Byrne. Those guys are really good. Florida’s got a really good baseball team.

“That’s one game. I’m proud of our guys, the way we went out and competed. We were going to have to do that each inning to come out on the right side of it. And also have some good fortune. I thnk we had that.”

Notable

As Texas Tech plays in Omaha for the third time in five years, Tadlock’s team will experience something new — the winners’ bracket.

In 2014, the Red Raiders were ousted after losing two straight games in the double-elimination format. In 2016, they lost the opener, beat Florida and then lost again.

Beating Bsrady Singer

Singer, the Dick Howser Award Winner as the player of the year in college baseball, was most effective early in the game.

But once the Red Raiders measured him, they started to produce some good swings and made good contact even on balls that turned into outs. It also helped Tech that Florida’s defense faltered at key moments.

In the top of the fourth, San Antonio’s Josh Jung led off with a single to right field. He took second on a balk by Singer, got to third on a passed ball and scored on Grant Little’s sacrifice fly to make it 1-1.

Texas Tech took a 3-1 lead in the fifth courtesy of a few mistakes by Florida’s defense.

Cody Farhat laced a two-out single to center. A throwing error by Florida shortstop Deacon Liput allowed Braxton Fulfort to reach base, while Farhat made it all the way to third.

Holt followed with a two-run single through the right side on a ball that skipped past first baseman JJ Schulz and into the outfield. The ball appeared to be playable, but it was ruled a hit.

In the sixth inning, Zach Rheams belted an RBI double and Michael Davis and RBI single to make it 5-1.

Singer (12-2) pitched 6 and 1/3 innings. He allowed nine hits and five runs, only two of them earned.

The best pitcher of the night may have been Shetter, who was credited with the win after allowing three hits and a run in 4 and 1/3 innings. Shetter (6-0) struck out seven and walked one.

Records

Texas Tech 45-18
Florida 47-20

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