So far, the Florida baseball team has followed the exact script for success it needed to in this College World Series.
The Gators have gotten two dominant performances from their dual No. 1-caliber starting pitchers, limiting exposure to the bullpen and positioning the team now just one win away from reaching the championship series in Omaha, Neb.
Following the lead of ace Alex Faedo two days earlier, sophomore Brady Singer was terrific on the mound Tuesday night for No. 3 seed Florida while allowing just 1 run over 7 innings in a 5-1 victory over No. 7 Louisville.
Now, it’s sophomore right-hander Jackson Kowar’s turn as Florida (49-18) gets a rematch with No. 6 TCU (49-17) on Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Horned Frogs, who prevailed 4-3 over Louisville in an elimination game Thursday night, have to beat the Gators twice to advance. Florida, which won the teams’ CWS opener 3-0 on Sunday, needs just one win.
Kowar comes into this start with a 12-0 record, 4.00 ERA and 73 strikeouts with 42 walks in 101 1/3 innings. He’s looked very hittable his last few times out, giving up at least 8 hits in each of his last four starts. He was knocked around by Wake Forest in the NCAA Super Regionals, allowing 5 runs on 10 hits and 3 walks and will need to be sharper on Friday night.
The Gators would likely turn back to Faedo is pushed to an extra game Saturday, but they’d much prefer to have their top two starters ready for the next stage if they advance.
If Florida can win one more, it will put the program in the College World Series championship series for the first time since 2011 and third time in program history.
“We’re excited we’re 2-0. We’re not foolish to not know that we have a long way to go in this thing,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said.
TCU, meanwhile, is expected to start redshirt senior righty Mitchell Traver, who is 4-1 with a 3.79 ERA and 48 strikeouts with 19 walks over 40 1/3 innings.
Horned Frogs coach Jim Schlossnagle said ace Jared Janczak would stay on his normal schedule and be available to pitch Saturday if needed.
“We feel good about our starting pitching. Traver has been throwing really well,” Schlossnagle said. “… The best quality that our team has is just their presence, their experience, their poise under pressure. And so we know we’re going to face a great team that’s not only talented but they’re hot. And they’re playing with a lot of confidence. And they’re absolutely loaded on the mound.
“But you’ve got to play the games. And it’s never about the best team. It’s only about the team that plays the best.”
Schedule/TV channel/How to watch online
June 17: No. 1 Oregon State 6, Cal State Fullerton 5
June 17: No. 4 LSU 5, Florida State 4
June 19: Florida State 6, Cal State Fullerton 4
June 19: Oregon State 13, LSU 1
June 21: LSU 7, Florida State 4
June 23, 3 p.m. ET: Oregon State vs. LSU, Bracket 1 championship game, ESPN
June 24, TBD: Bracket 1 if-necessary game, ESPN
June 18: No. 7 Louisville 8, Texas A&M 4
June 18: No. 3 Florida 3, No. 6 TCU 0
June 20: TCU 4, Texas A&M 1
June 20: Florida 5, Louisville 1
June 22: TCU 4, Louisville 3
June 23, 8 p.m ET: Florida vs. TCU, Bracket 2 championship game, ESPN
June 24, TBD: Bracket 2 if-necessary game, ESPN
June 26, 7 p.m. ET: Game 1, ESPN
June 27, 8 p.m. ET: Game 2, ESPN
June 28, 8 p.m. ET: Game 3, ESPN
*All games can be streamed online via WatchESPN.
-Prior to last weekend, Florida second baseman Deacon Liput hadn’t homered since the opening series of the season. Then he delivered a long home run in the second game of the NCAA Super Regionals against Wake Forest and a pivotal 3-run shot Tuesday night to stake the Gators to a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning. Liput is now riding a seven-game hitting streak, raising his batting average from .212 to .231 since the start of the NCAA postseason.
-O’Sullivan suggested that freshman reliever Tyler Dyson would be a different pitcher moving forward after his clutch performance in the super regionals, and indeed he delivered again Tuesday night against Louisville with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. That makes 8 1/3 scoreless frame with 12 strikeouts over the last two weekends, lowering his ERA from 4.74 to 3.55. He and closer Michael Byrne should both be available for however long they’re needed Friday night.
-Since getting rocked in the SEC Tournament and struggling in the NCAA Regionals against Bethune-Cookman, Singer has been in peak form. He allowed just 3 hits over six scoreless inning in the super regional before his gem Tuesday night. That lowered his ERA to 3.18 and gave him 117 strikeouts for the season.
-Faedo and Singer have combined to allowing 1 run, 8 hits and 3 walks over 14 innings in the College World Series for a 0.64 ERA. They’ve totaled 20 strikeouts.
-For what it’s worth, 23 of the last 27 national champions have started 2-0 in the College World Series.