Florida and Louisville play in the winners bracket of the College World Series, their first meeting since UF swept the Cardinals in a three-game series in Gainesville in 2009. Brady Singer, far left, takes the mound tonight for the Gators as they face Louisville in the College World Series. (Photo: Tim Casey/UAA Staff Photographer) OMAHA, Neb. – Gators starter Brady Singer has a pair of teammates well aware of the hazards of facing Louisville All-American Brendan McKay , the Dick Howser Trophy winner as the nation’s top player.
Florida catchers Mike Rivera and JJ Schwarz were teammates with McKay four years ago as members of the 2013 USA 18-under National Team. They helped the USA repeat as world champions by winning the 18-under World Cup in Taichung, Taiwan.
Rivera got to know McKay up close and personal.
"He was actually my bus partner,” Rivera said. "There were times we had to be like this [shrugging position], stuck in the same [seat] because the Asian buses are tiny."
Rivera and McKay won’t be that close in tonight’s College World Series game at TD Ameritrade Park. Or teammates. This time, they are opponents trying to stay in the all-important winners bracket in Omaha.
Singer is making his first CWS start and each time McKay steps into the batter’s box, everyone will be watching.
"He’s an incredible athlete, and he’s really patient, which is something people don’t look upon,” Rivera said. "He doesn’t swing at bad pitches and he’s got raw power. He barely swings and the ball jumps off the bat."
For a closer look at the Florida-Louisville matchup, here is our CWS Primer:
Regular Season: 40-15 (first in SEC East)
Record vs. Top 25: 20-6
Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan , 10th year (444-207, .682)
All-Time CWS Record: 15-21 CWS Appearances: 11 (1988, ’91, ’96, ’98, 2005, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’15, ’16, ’17) CWS Titles: None Road to Omaha: Gainesville Regional – W vs. Marist 10-6; W vs. USF 2-1 (12); L vs. Bethune-Cookman 6-2; W vs. Bethune-Cookman 6-1. Gainesville Super Regional – W vs. Wake Forest 2-1 (11); L vs. Wake Forest 8-6 (11); W vs. Wake Forest 3-0. In Omaha: Florida starter Alex Faedo and closer Michael Byrne combined for 15 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over Texas Christian on Sunday night. Faedo tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out 11 Horned Frogs and surrendering just two hits. Byrne took over in the eighth inning and struck out four over two innings as UF snapped a three-game losing streak at the CWS. Player(s) to Watch: Brady Singer is perhaps Florida’s most emotional player. If you saw his reaction when rain stopped play while he was on the mound in the super regional against Wake Forest, you witnessed Singer’s competitive side in full bloom. Singer is making his first CWS start so staying composed against a dangerous Louisville lineup is necessary. If Singer’s pitches have the zing they did in the super regional against Wake Forest, the Gators could be in good shape. […]