— Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) June 22, 2018
Senior JJ Schwarz hit the 50th home run of his college career Thursday night as the top-seeded Florida Gators scored a 9-6 victory over Texas Tech, eliminating the Red Raiders from the College World Series.
Freshman Jack Leftwich pitched into the seventh inning to carry Florida to its second straight win in the tournament after losing 6-3 in its opener against Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders of the Big 12 Conference bowed out with a 1-2 record in the CWS after losing on consecutive days to Arkansas and Florida, two powerhouses from the Southeastern Conference.
The Gators advanced to play Arkansas in the bracket finals, which are set to open Friday night. Arkansas needs one win to wrap up a berth in the CWS title round. Florida needs to win two.
A key sequence between Florida and Texas Tech started in the bottom of the seventh, when the Red Raiders had scored their first three runs of the game to pull within 5-3.
Florida reliever Jordan Butler entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, and he delivered by fanning Tech slugger Zach Rheams. Butler then retired Michael Davis on a liner to right field.
The Gators continued to press the issue when they came to the plate in the eighth, scoring three runs for an 8-3 lead. The big blow was an RBI triple by Brady Smith.
Undaunted, the Red Raiders rallied in their half of the inning with three runs on three hits to pull within 8-6. Included in the outburst was an RBI single by sophomore Josh Jung.
Jung, from San Antonio’s MacArthur High School, finished 3 for 5 with 2 RBI.
In the ninth, Florida scored one run to account for the final margin. All-American Jonathan India singled, stole second — for his third steal of the day — and made it all the way around to score on an infield error.
Florida relief ace Michael Byrne retired Texas Tech 1-2-3 in the ninth to end it.
In the early going
As Leftwich shut down the Red Raiders’ offense, the Gators scored one in the fourth and two each in the fifth and sixth to make it 5-0.
Schwarz, who missed the first two rounds of the NCAA playoffs with a hand injury, turned it into a five-run game in the sixth with a two-run shot — his 13th home run of the season.
Texas Tech got it going in the seventh with four hits and an error by Florida shortstop Deacon Liput that allowed the third run of the inning to score.
Jung finished his sophomore year at Texas Tech with a team-leading .392 batting average. He had 103 hits in 263 at bats. Included in the totals were 12 home runs, six triples and 17 doubles. He also finished with 80 RBI.
Texas Tech 45-20
Our season comes to an end with a 9-6 loss to No. 1 Florida, at the College World Series.
— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) June 22, 2018