What started as a pitcher’s duel ended up with Louisville blinking first. Singer delivered seven quality innings while striking out nine, as the Gators defeated Louisville 5-1.
Singer, who is listed as the top sophomore prospect on Perfect Game and Baseball America’s listings, showed his worth at the mound. The 6’5″ standout delivered a gem with seven innings, striking out nine and allowing one run on six hits. Louisville batters faced problems with Singer’s command all game long.
“Really, he’s got a tough angle,” Brendan McKay said. “And combined with the early shadows that we had … what I saw in the second inning was right when he released the ball that’s when the ball disappeared.”
“When you don’t have much to go off of, it’s tough no matter what,” McKay said.” “But he’s (Singer) got a funky little angle to him. He can spot up — obviously when you combine that with velocity and good offspeed pitches, as you see in any level, it’s tough to hit.”
Allowing just one run today, Florida (49-18) became the fourth team in the aluminum bat era (since 1975) to allow one or zero runs in their first two games in the College World Series. Florida shut out TCU 3-0 on Sunday, prior to their victory against the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Kade McClure was crushed by some powerful home runs. A home run that bounced off the left field foul pole from Austin Langworthy kickstarted the Gators scoring spree. A two-out walk and single parlayed into Deacon Liput landing a moonshot to right field, extending the Gators lead to 4-0. Mike Rivera punctuated the Florida scoring with an RBI double off of Adam Elliott in the seventh.
Deacon Liput led all Florida batters with the only multi-hit showing; Liput batted 2-of-3 at the plate with all three RBI coming on his home run. India, Rivera and Langworthy also provided hits for Florida. All in all, Florida earned their five runs on five hits, though all of the runs came on extra-base hits (two home runs and an RBI double).
“When you get in this tournament, every run counts,” Liput said. “And being able to contribute and help this team is a huge accomplishment for me, and it felt really good.”
Despite allowing the four runs, McClure had a stellar showing with nine strikeouts and a walk in six innings. It was McClure’s third loss of the season; prior to 2017, he had only lost one game in his collegiate career.
“I was proud of our guys that we fought hard,” McDonnell said. “But this is baseball. And sometimes, you just gotta tip your cap to the other team. I think they scored five runs on three extra-base hits.”
“I think I settled in alright,” said McClure. “A four-pitch walk is on me. And then a jam-shot and then I let one over the fence. Like Coach (McDonnell) said, that’s baseball. I’m not too worried about it.”
Louisville actually out-hit the Gators 7-5, but couldn’t capitalize with runners on base. The Cards had men on the corners in the bottom sixth off of singles from Snider and Fitch, but Singer managed to get Devin Mann looking at a strikeout to thwart a scoring opportunity. U of L scored its only run on Colin Lyman’s RBI single in the seventh, but failed to capitalize on a two-out bases-loaded situation when Logan Taylor’s groundout closed the inning. Overall, U of L left seven men on base versus Florida’s one.
“We couldn’t him (Singer) in that jam,” McDonnell said. “We had that one stretch in the seventh. Logan Taylor had a good at-bat, he just hit it right to the shortstop. That was our chance … sometimes, you just got to tip your cap to the other team.”
Brendan McKay led all Louisville batters with two hits on the day, and scored the team’s only run on Lyman’s single. Colby Fitch, Hairston, Stowers and Snider also scored base hits in the game.
Louisville’s season will be on the line Thursday at 7 p.m. against #6 TCU. Should the Cardinals prevail, the Gators await them in a rematch on Friday at 7 EST. U of L (53-11) will need to win on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to earn its first trip to the CWS Finals. Florida will be looking for its third appearance in the Finals, and its first since 2011. TCU nor Louisville have advanced to the Finals in their program’s history.
But it should be noted that last year’s College World Series finalists — Coastal Carolina and Arizona — lost in the second round before advancing to the grand finale.
“Well, we’re one of six teams left in Omaha,” McDonnell said. “I know my guys are excited, we have a lot of respect for TCU. It’s a great opportunity, Louisville/TCU on a Thursday night. We just gotta take advantage of the opportunity we have and go out there and compete against a really good team.”