SEC baseball. Simply the best. Better than all the rest.
Apologies to Tina Turner, but the league was top of the heap all year. Late Tuesday night, Florida won its first baseball national title. They beat fellow SEC foe, and old-guard member, LSU, 6-1, to earn the honors.
The SEC has won 10 national championships since 1990. Florida didn’t have a single one of them. LSU has had six. SEC teams have been the losing team in the title game another eight times since 1990.
Florida is included in that latter category. Twice, actually. The Gators lost in 2005 to Texas and then again 2011 to, coincidentally another SEC team, South Carolina.
The 2005 team was a bit rag-tag. Only three major leaguers were on that roster. And while that sounds like a lot for some schools who don’t have the recent history Florida does in college baseball, it’s an unusually small number.
In 2011, the Gators roster had eight guys who would go on to play in MLB.
This year’s team looks more like the latter.
Florida’s pitching was in the top 20 in the country in earned-run average, strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio. Alex Faedo led the nation with 157 strikeouts. Brady Singer was 11th with 129. Singer and closer Michael Byrne — who is seventh in the country in individual ERA — teamed up, just the two of them on the mound, to give Florida a 4-3 win in Game 1 of the national title series.
Second to Faedo in strikeouts was Alex Lange. He’s LSU’s ace and he was unable to go in either of the teams’ two games. Lange had to save the Tigers from elimination on June 23, as LSU beat Oregon State.
But Faedo didn’t go, either. Singer, the Gators’ No. 2 went in Game 1. Jared Poche, LSU’s No. 2, went in Game 2. As tournaments tend to show, attrition would bring out the best.
And Florida, with its dynamic talent on the mound, had too much.
If pitching wins championships, the Gators were always the favorites.
SEC baseball helps.