Florida downs Texas Tech 6-0 and wins the Gainesville Regional

By Jerry Briggs
For the JB Replay

Ryan Slater pitched five shutout innings, BT Riopelle crushed a couple of two-run homers and the host Florida Gators won the NCAA Gainesville Regional title with a 6-0 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Slater allowed three hits and walked two but kept the Red Raiders off balance in key moments and off the scoreboard completely, setting the tone for the Gators, who qualified for the Super Regional round of the playoffs.

Riopelle hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning that boosted the Gators into a 3-0 lead. A few minutes later, he added another two-run shot in a three-run fifth. After Riopelle’s fireworks display, Florida was on top 6-0 and cruising.

NCAA regionals
How the Texas teams have fared

Texas: (41-20) Beat host Miami for the title on Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla.
Texas Tech: (41-23) Lost to host Florida in the title game Monday in Gainesville, Fla.
TCU: (39-22) Scheduled to meet host Arkansas in the finals at Fayetteville on Monday afternoon.
Texas A&M: (38-26) Scheduled to play in California against host Stanford in the title game Monday night.
Dallas Baptist (47-16) Lost to Oral Roberts in the finals Sunday at Stillwater, Okla.
Sam Houston State: (39-25) Eliminated after three games at Baton Rouge, La.

Texas Tech knocks off national No. 2 seed Florida at NCAA Gainesville Regional

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Gavin Kash homered twice and San Antonio’s Brandon Beckel earned a two-out save, propelling the Texas Tech Red Raiders to a 5-4 victory Saturday over the national No. 2-seeded Florida Gators in the NCAA Gainesville Regional.

Beckel, from Antonian High School, faced a stressful situation in the ninth inning with Tech leading by the eventual final score, with a runner on first base and with Florida star Jac Caglianone at the plate.

Caglianone entered the at bat with 29 home runs on the season, including a two-run shot in the sixth inning, but Beckel got him to pop up to the infield for the last out of the game.

With the victory, the Red Raiders improved to 2-0 in the regional and moved into the finals with high hopes of advancing to next week’s Super Regional round.

On Sunday afternoon, Florida will take on Connecticut in a battle of once-beaten teams. The loser is out, and the winner will play Texas Tech in the finals Sunday night. Tech needs to win only once for the regional title. Its opponent would need to win Sunday and Monday to advance.

“It’s definitely a lot easier to win (a regional) when winning the first two than losing the second or first one,” Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said in comments published on the school’s athletics website. “It’s very hard to do it the other way. Definitely puts you in a good spot.

“At the same time, I think we got a group that has the utmost respect for the other teams and the game. We’ll go eat dinner. Enjoy it for a little bit, and then get ready to go tomorrow.”

For Texas Tech, Austin Green hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Kash, a transfer from Texas, hit a solo shot in the fifth inning and a two-run blast in the eighth.

In the eighth-inning uprising, San Antonio’s Zac Vooletich from Brandeis High School singled to center. Kash followed by smashing a ball to center that made it 5-3.

The top of the ninth was tense, with Florida fans on edge. Tech reliever Derek Bridges got the first out, getting Colby Halter on a ground ball. The next batter up, pinch hitter Dale Thomas, tripled into the gap in right center. At that point, Texas Tech brought in Beckel, who had pitched two innings of scoreless relief in Friday’s victory over Connecticut.

Cade Kurland, Florida’s leadoff man, grounded to second base on a play that brought Thomas home. Trailing by one, Florida needed only a few more positive things to happen to pull off the comeback.

Florida fans got one of the two. Wyatt Langford beat out an infield single, but Caglianone popped up on an 0-1 count for the final out. With the victory secured, Beckel earned his seventh save of the season.

Kyle Robinson, Ryan Free, Ethan Coombes (the winner, who improved to 4-0), Bridges and Beckel combined to hold the Gators to eight hits. Tech pitching struck out 10 and walked three. Langford led the Gators with two hits and two runs scored.

Caglianone was one for five with the two-run homer off Free, which tied the game, 3-3.

In the day’s earlier game, Connecticut eliminated Florida A&M, 9-6.

Florida wins; Texas Tech ousted from College World Series

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
Florida 49-20

Texas Tech-Florida to meet in elimination game

The Texas Tech Red Raiders will need to beat the No. 1-seeded team in the NCAA baseball tournament for the second time in five days Thursday night to stay alive at the College World Series.

Tech plays Florida at 7 p.m. at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The winner advances to meet Arkansas on Friday but must beat the Razorbacks twice to reach the best-of-three CWS finals, which start Monday.

The Red Raiders opened the tournament Sunday with a 6-3 victory over the Gators. Since then, the Gators stayed alive by knocking off the Texas Longhorns. Texas Tech lost, falling 7-4 to Arkansas Wednesday afternoo.

On the other side of the bracket, only two teams remain. The Oregon State Beavers and undefeated Mississippi State Bulldogs play Friday with the Bulldogs needing just one win to advance and the Beavers two.

Oregon State remained in contention, knocking off North Carolina 11-6 late Wednesday night.

The Beavers trailed 6-3 after seven innings, but scored four runs in the eighth and four more in the ninth to take control.

Teams already eliminated from the CWS include Washington, Texas and North Carolina.

In Thursday’s game, Texas Tech is expected to start Caleb Kilian (9-2, 3.04) against Florida.

Red Raiders sophomore Josh Jung, who played his high school ball in San Antonio at MacArthur, has produced three hits in nine at bats in the CWS.

Texas Tech’s batting leader was 1 for 4 on Wednesday to give him 100 hits on the season.

It is the first time a Texas Tech player has had a 100-hit season since Josh Bard in 1998, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

For the season, Jung has produced 100 hits in 258 at bats for a .388 average.



Bracket 2: Texas Tech (1-1) vs. Florida (1-1), 7 p.m.


Bracket 1: Oregon State (2-1) vs. Mississippi State (2-0), 2 p.m.

Bracket 2: Arkansas (2-0) vs. Florida/Texas Tech, 7 p.m.


Bracket 1: If necessary, 2 p.m.

Bracket 2: If necessary, 7 p.m.


Championship round: Bracket 1 vs. Bracket 2 winners, 6 p.m.


Championship round: Bracket 1 vs. Bracket 2 winners, 6 p.m.


Championship round: Bracket 1 vs. Bracket 2 winners, 6 p.m. (if necessary)

Florida wins 6-1 to eliminate Texas from the CWS

Jonathan India and Nick Horvath both smashed home runs Tuesday afternoon to support a strong pitching effort as the Florida Gators defeated Texas, 6-1, ousting the Longhorns from the College World Series.

With the victory, the defending national champion Gators bounced back from a CWS-opening loss to Texas Tech and improved to 1-1 in Bracket 2.

Texas’ tournament run is over after an 0-2 showing in losses to Arkansas and Florida.

Texas Tech and Arkansas were scheduled to play later Tuesday in a winners’ bracket showdown, but the game was postponed because of weather concerns in Omaha, Nebraska.

It is now scheduled to be played at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Florida starter Jackson Kowar and relievers Jordan Butler and Michael Byrne combined to strike out 15 Longhorns. Kowar fanned 13 in 6 and 2/3 scoreless innings.

India slammed a three-run homer in a four-run sixth inning as the Gators built a 5-0 lead. Horvath added a solo shot to lead off the eighth.

Despite the loss, Texas enjoyed a strong season with 42 victories, a Big 12 regular-season title and its first trip to Omaha in four years.

Kody Clemens slammed five of his team-high 24 home runs as Texas advanced through the regional and super regional playoffs with a 5-1 combined record.

Starting pitching also had been a strength of the Longhorns on the first two weekends of the playoffs.

In Omaha, however, UT’s starting pitching was rocked in both games.

Nolan Kingham gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings against Arkansas, in an eventual 11-5 loss. Blair Henley lasted only 2 and 2/3 innings against Florida.

The Gators punched four hits against Henley, who also walked four before he was pulled in the third, trailing 1-0.

Chase Shugart pitched well in relief until the sixth inning, when the Gators erupted for four runs. The big blow was India’s 21st homer of the season.

Shugart yielded five runs on six hits in 4 and 1/3 innings. He struck out six.

Clemens also struggled in two CWS games.

He went 1 for 4 against the Gators and flied out to end the game with two runners on base. In Omaha, the son of UT legend Roger Clemens was 2 for 9 and did not drive in a run.


Florida 48-20
Texas 42-23

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.


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.”


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.


Texas Tech 45-18
Florida 47-20


Mississippi State on a roll heading into SEC tournament

The Mississippi State Bulldogs surged into the Baseball America Top 25 with a sweep of top-ranked Florida last weekend, according to the poll released Monday.

The Bulldogs, playing at home, downed the Gators 6-3, 12-4 and 13-6 in the biggest surprise of the week in the Southeastern Conference.

Despite the three losses, Florida remained No. 1 in the national rankings leading into the SEC tournament that starts Tuesday at Hoover, Ala.

The Bulldogs open play in the tournament ranked 25th.

Baseball America
Top 25 – May 21

1. Florida 41-15 SEC
2. Oregon State 42-9-1 Pac-12
3. Stanford 43-8 Pac-12
4. Ole Miss 42-14 SEC
5. North Carolina 37-17 ACC
6. Clemson 43-13 ACC
7. Texas Tech 38-15 Big 12
8. Georgia 37-17 SEC
9. Arkansas 37-17 SEC
10. N.C. State 40-14 ACC
11. Minnesota 37-13 Big Ten
12. Duke 39-14 ACC
13. Florida State 39-17 ACC
14. Texas 37-18 Big 12
15. Coastal Carolina 38-17 Sun Belt
16. UCLA 35-17 Pac-12
17. Southern Miss 39-15 Conference USA
18. Houston 33-21 American
19. East Carolina 39-15 American
20. Stetson 41-11 Atlantic Sun
21. Tennessee Tech 46-7 Ohio Valley
22. South Carolina 32-22 SEC
23. Auburn 37-19 SEC
24. Missouri State 35-15 Missouri Valley
25. Mississippi State 31-24 SEC

Conference tournaments

SEC — at Hoover, Ala., Tuesday – Sunday
Big 12 — at Oklahoma City, Wednesday – Sunday
Big Ten — at Omaha, Neb., Wednesday – Sunday
ACC — at Durham, N.C., Tuesday – Sunday
Pac-12 — No tournament
American — at Clearwater, Fla., Tuesday – Sunday
Big East — at Mason, Ohio, Thursday – Sunday
Conference USA — at Biloxi, Miss., Wednesday – Sunday
Sun Belt — at Lafayette, La., Tuesday – Sunday
Southland — at Sugar Land, Wednesday – Saturday

NCAA projections

D1 Baseball, in its weekly projections of the 64-team NCAA tournament, listed four teams from both the SEC and from the Atlantic Coast Conference as No. 1 seeds hosting first-roud regionals.

The website projected that Florida, Georgia, Arkansas and Ole Miss from the SEC and North Carolina, North Carolina State, Florida State and Clemson from the ACC all would host.

Two teams from the Big 12 — both Texas Tech and Texas — are also projected as No. 1s hosting on the first weekend.

Texas won the Big 12 regular-season title last weekend after sweeping a three-game series against TCU.

Other teams from the state projected to make it into the NCAA field include Houston (a No. 2 seed), Texas A&M, Baylor, Dallas Baptist and Sam Houston State (all No. 3s) and Texas Southern (as a No. 4).

Sam Houston State claimed the Southland Conference title in San Antonio last week with a sweep of Incarnate Word.

Incarnate Word head baseball coach Patrick Hallmark (right) talks things over with Sam Houston State coach Matt Deggs during Thursday night's game. - photo by Joe Alexander

Incarnate Word head baseball coach Patrick Hallmark (right) talks things over with Sam Houston State coach Matt Deggs during Thursday night’s game. – photo by Joe Alexander

Top-ranked Florida wins, clinches SEC championship

Top-ranked Florida hit four home runs Saturday to make it look easy in a 9-3 victory over No. 12 Georgia.

The win clinched at least a share of the Southeastern Conference title for the Gators, prompting coach Kevin O’Sullivan to start speculating on his team’s potential in the NCAA postseason.

“I have enjoyed every single day watching these guys compete and how they have gone about it,” O’Sullivan said in comments posted on Florida’s athletics website. “It has been a professional approach and consistent.

“Their togetherness and comradery has been really special.”

“It is not easy to have a bullseye on your back all year. They have handled it with class and consistency. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will do in postseason.”

Florida is the defending national champion.

The Gators finished 52-19, including 5-1 in the College World Series, to win the 2017 title.

Many of the same faces from last year are powering the current squad, including JJ Schwarz, Nelson Maldonado, Jonathan India and Blake Reese, who all homered against Georgia.

Reese slugged a sixth-inning grand slam.


Florida — 41-11, 20-6
Georgia — 34-15, 15-11

Can LSU turn it on this week against No. 4 Arkansas?

The LSU Tigers always seem to conjure up some baseball magic this time of year.

As one of the dominant programs in the country, LSU traditionally turns it on when April gives way to May, and then to June.

If you don’t believe it, check the record — 29 NCAA tournament appearances, 18 trips to the College World Series and six national titles.

Last year, the Tigers won 52 games.

They advanced all the way to the championship round in the CWS, only to lose in two straight games to Florida.

Oddly, LSU has found itself in something of a struggle ever since.

The Tigers are only seven games over .500 this season.

They’ve lost six of their last eight, including two of three last week at Ole Miss.

Even more mysterious, LSU might be viewed as something of an underdog this weekend when its hosts the fourth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks.

A three-game SEC series between Arkansas (32-13, 13-8) and LSU (26-19, 10-11) opens Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.

It’s strange, really.

With the month of May looming, LSU is not among the hot teams in the SEC.

Florida is coming off a 2-2 week, but the Gators (36-10, 16-5) are still ranked No. 1 in the nation by Baseball America.

Ole Miss (34-11, 12-9) is third and Arkansas fourth.

The Hogs have played perhaps the best ball of anyone of late, knocking off Texas Tech last Wednesday before sweeping Alabama for a 4-0 week.

Meanwhile, LSU has lost its last two SEC series, losing all three at South Carolina two weeks ago and then dropping the series at Ole Miss after blowing a late three-run lead and losing 9-8 Sunday.

The Tigers have had trouble with their pitching all year. The team’s ERA is 4.56, which is 12th out of 14 SEC teams.

Middle relief pitching, in particular, has haunted LSU in series-opening losses to South Carolina and Ole Miss over the past few weeks.

If it happens again this weekend, the explosive Razorbacks could put up a lot of runs.

We’ll see if the Tigers’ mojo or magic, or whatever you want to call it, can start to turn that around against the Hogs, who lead the conference in batting (.310) and home runs (69).

After all, it is that time of year.

Baseball America Top 25

1. Florida 36-10 SEC
2. Stanford 33-6 Pac-12
3. Ole Miss 34-11 SEC
4. Arkansas 32-13 SEC
5. North Carolina 31-13 ACC
6. Oregon State 32-7 Pac-12
7. North Carolina State 31-11 ACC
8. UCLA 29-10 Pac-12
9. Texas Tech 33-12 Big 12
10. Clemson 34-11 ACC
11. Duke 33-11 ACC
12. Kentucky 29-15 SEC
13. Southern Miss 32-11 Conference USA
14. East Carolina 30-12 American
15. Coastal Carolina 31-14 Sun Belt
16. Florida State 31-14 ACC
17. Vanderbilt 25-18 SEC
18. Indiana 31-10 Big Ten
19. Oklahoma State 27-14 Big 12
20. Texas 30-17 Big 12
21. Houston 28-16 American
22. Minnesota 28-12 Big Ten
23. South Florida 29-15 American
24. Georgia 30-14 SEC
25. Tennessee Tech 37-6 Ohio Valley

Texas Tech beats Florida, advances to Round of 16

Texas Tech advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years Saturday night following a 69-66 victory over Florida in an East Regional second-round game at Dallas.

It’s a stunning achievement for the Red Raiders, who were picked in the preseason to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big 12 Conference.

Second-year Texas Tech coach Chris Beard told a television reporter for TBS that he has always been driven to prove people wrong.

“We don’t have the McDonald’s All-Americans,” Beard said. “But we’ve got guys who have gotten better, and we’ve got guys who believe in themselves.”

As a result, third-seeded Tech (26-9) will move on to Boston next week to face either Purdue or Butler.

The Red Raiders last played in the Sweet 16 in 2005 when they defeated UCLA and Gonzaga in Tucson before losing to West Virginia, 65-60, in the regional semifinals at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Bob Knight was in his fourth season as Tech’s coach at the time.

Houston’s heart-break

Jordan Poole hit a long three-pointer to beat the buzzer as the third-seeded Michigan Wolverines ousted No. 6 Houston 64-63 in a Round of 32 West Region thriller at Wichita, Kansas.

The Cougars had a chance to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 34 years but couldn’t stop the Wolverines from making the winning play with a possession that started with 3.6 seconds remaining.

Michigan inbounded the ball from its own baseline. The pass went to Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who passed to Poole on the right wing.

Poole elevated with pressure from a Houston defender and, with legs splayed, hoisted the shot that lifted Michigan into the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

Loyola-Chicago wins again

Clayton Custer’s jumper with 3.6 seconds left boosted the 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers into the Round of 16 with a 63-62 victory over No. 3 Tennessee in a South Region game at Dallas.

The Volunteers had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Jordan Bone misfired on a contested three from top of the circle.

With the victory, Loyola-Chicago emerged as the only double-digit seed to win a second-round game on Saturday, with three more — UMBC, Butler and Syracuse — playing Sunday.

Round of 32

Saturday’s scores / Sunday’s schedule


(16) UMBC vs. (9) Kansas State, Sunday, 6:45 p.m., TruTV
(5) Kentucky beat (13) Buffalo, 95-75

(11) Loyola-Chicago beat (3) Tennessee, 63-62
(2) Cincinnati vs. (7) Nevada, Sunday, 5:10 p.m., TNT


(1) Xavier vs. (9) Florida State, Sunday, 7:45 p.m., TNT
(4) Gonzaga beat (5) Ohio State, 90-84

(3) Michigan beat (6) Houston, 64-63
(7) Texas A&M vs. (2) North Carolina, Sunday, 4:15 p.m., CBS


(1) Villanova beat (9) Alabama, 81-58
(5) West Virginia vs. (13) Marshall, Sunday, 8:40 p.m., TBS

(3) Texas Tech beat (6) Florida, 69-66
(10) Butler vs. (2) Purdue, Sunday, 11:10 a.m., CBS


(1) Kansas beat (8) Seton Hall, 83-79
(4) Auburn vs. (5) Clemson, Sunday, 6:10 p.m., CBS

(11) Syracuse vs. (3) Michigan State, Sunday, 1:40 p.m., CBS
(2) Duke beat (7) Rhode Island, 87-62