Florida wins national title over LSU

Bryan Lazare, TigerBait.com senior writer
Tiger Bait

Deacon Liput had two run-scoring hits and LSU wasted two scoring opportunities late in the game as Florida won its first baseball national championship with a 6-1 victory at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha on Tuesday night.

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AP Photo/Nati Harnik

HOW THEY SCORED

Florida first inning – Liput reached safely on an error by first baseman Nick Coomes. Liput advanced to third on a single by Dalton Guthrie and scored on a single by JJ Schwarz. FLORIDA 1, LSU 0

Florida second inning – With two out, Nick Horvath singled. Horvath moved to second when Coomes dropped a pickoff throw. Horvath scored on a single by Liput. FLORIDA 2, LSU 0

LSU seventh inning – Zach Watson singled and stole second. Watson scored on a double by Josh Smith. FLORIDA 2, LSU 1

Florida eighth inning – Jonathan India doubled and Austin Langworthy walked. India went to third and Langworthy advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Michael Rivera. Pinch-hitter Christian Hicks was intentionally walked to load the bases. India scored when Horvath was hit by a pitch. Langworthy and pinch-runner Andrew Baker scored on a single by Liput. Guthrie singled to load the bases. Horvath scored on a sacrifice fly to the centerfielder by Schwarz. FLORIDA 6, LSU 1

KEY STRETCH OF GAME

LSU had two chances to tie or take the lead in the late innings. But, the first one was the most crushing as the Tigers had the tying run taken off the board. Trailing 2-0, LSU got an infield hit by Watson to start the seventh. Watson stole second and scored when Smith greeted Florida closer Michael Byrne with a double. Smith moved to third on a single by Jake Slaughter. Then, Slaughter committed a base-running mistake. Michael Papierski hit a ground ball to the second baseman. The Gators were playing for the double play and conceding the run. However, Slaughter made an illegal slide at second base as he did not slide directly into the bag. A double play was ruled and Smith had to return to third base. So, the Tigers still trailed 2-1. Smith was stranded at third base when Beau Jordan lined out to the centerfielder. LSU threatened again in the eighth, but the misplay in the seventh came when Florida was on the ropes.

KEY TEAM STATISTICS

Florida outhit LSU 10-8. There were just two extra-base hits in the game – one double for both teams. . .The Tigers committed the three errors in the game. Two of the errors led to the Gators’ first two runs. . .Florida stranded ten runners – seven in scoring position. The Gators were 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position. . .LSU stranded eight runners – five in scoring position. The Tigers were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS

LSU

Cole Freeman: 2-for-4

Jared Poche: 5.2 innings, 8 hits, 2 runs, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

FLORIDA

Jonathan India: 2-for-4, 1 run scored, 1 double

Deacon Liput: 2-for-5, 3 RBIs, 1 run scored

Dalton Guthrie: 2-for-5

Nick Horvath: 1-for-3, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI

JJ Schwarz: 1-for-4, 2 RBIs

Tyler Dyson: 6 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

LSU’S PLAYER OF THE GAME

Poche would have held Florida scoreless were it not for two errors by Coomes in the first two innings. Poche worked 5.2 innings and gave up two unearned runs and seven hits. He kept LSU within striking distance by pitching quite effectively with runners in scoring position. Florida was 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position against Poche.Poche’s comments: “We pride ourselves on never giving up. I’m definitely always going to remember this team. This was one of the most special teams I’ve been on in my four years.”

NOTES

Nick Coomes was back in the lineup at first base replacing Slaughter. Coomes made two errors which led to two runs. He misplayed Liput’s ground ball in the first inning. Liput would later score on a hit by Schwarz. Horvath was picked off by Poche with two out in the second. Coomes dropped the ball as he was exchanging it from his glove to his hand. Horvath scored on a single by Liput. . .LSU did not threaten until the seventh when Slaughter made his base-running gaffe. In the eighth, singles by Kramer Robertson and Freeman put runners on the corners with no outs. Byrne struck out Antoine Duplantis. Jackson Kowar replaced Byrne and got Greg Deichmann to hit a ground ball to Schwarz at first base. Schwarz threw out Robertson at the plate. Watson then lined out to the centerfielder to end the inning. . .Jordan was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Papierski was 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position. . .Duplantis and Deichmann were a combined 0-for-7. . .Byrne faced seven batters, four of whom had hits. . .Kowar retired five of the six batters he faced. . .Zack Hess was roughed up for four runs in the eighth inning to break open the game. Hess walked two, one intentional, and hit one batter in the inning. He also allowed three hits. . .LSU failed to win the national title for the first time when it reached the championship game or the championship series. . .The Tigers lost four of five games to Florida this season. LSU scored runs in just seven of 45 innings against Gators pitching in the five games. . .The Tigers finished the year with a 52-20 record. Florida’s record was slightly better at 52-19. . .Since the super-regional format began in 1999, Florida was the fourth SEC school to win the national championship. In that span, LSU and South Carolina won two titles and Vanderbilt won one. . .Papierski, Watson and Duplantis were named to the all-tournament team. . .The paid attendance was 26,607.

FROM THE LOCKER ROOM

Coach Paul Mainieri’s comments: “The players in that clubhouse gave everything they had. Even though we came up two victories short, we did a lot of things to make the community proud. I hope the people of Louisiana and Baton Rouge are proud of them. This is the cruelty of what we do. You go into it hoping to get to Omaha and winning the national championship. At the end of the day, only one coach gets to be up here. It’s an awful feeling to come up a little bit short. Our players know the slide rule. They know they have to slide directly into the base. I haven’t seen a video of the play yet. The umpire said (Slaughter) didn’t slide into the base. The base-runner said he did slide into the base. The whole game was bizarre. The first batter hits a routine ground ball and we don’t make the play. I feel like we were snake-bitten in the seventh and eighth innings.”

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