Flashback File: Gators Baseball Really Did It

Three weeks later, Florida’s first national title in baseball is still sinking in after a decade of being so close to winning it all in Omaha. Gators freshman Tyler Dyson started Game 2 against LSU and earned the win to help the Gators claim their first national championship. (Photo: Tim Casey/UAA Communications) GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Memo to Florida fans: the first Gators sporting event of the 2017-18 school year is just three weeks away.

The UF women’s soccer team hosts Mississippi State in an exhibition match on Aug. 9. Nine days later in Boca Raton, the Gators open the regular season at Florida Atlantic. No, that is not a typo. Rather proof of how deep we already are into summer.

If it seems like yesterday Gators second baseman Deacon Liput fielded a ground ball and threw to first baseman JJ Schwarz for the final out of the College World Series, you are not alone.

Geez, I don’t think I’ve even finished doing all my laundry from that trip. Meanwhile, six members of UF’s first national championship team have already signed professional contracts and others are playing in summer leagues across the country to prepare for next season. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan has probably texted recruits at least 17,000 times.

By the end of their sweep over LSU in the championship series, the Gators were thrilled and exhausted. To win in Omaha means to stay and stay and stay in Omaha.

The Gators returned to campus the afternoon of June 28 and were welcomed home by an enthusiastic crowd of more than 2,500 at McKethan Stadium. I took a breath for a few days and then started previewing Florida’s trip to the SEC Football Media Days last week in Hoover, Ala.

But before focus shifts completely Jim McElwain ‘s third season, let’s take a final look at that memorable trip to the CWS. I was sure the 2012 team was going to win it all. Thought the same about the 2015 team.

As for the 2017 Gators, I packed for two weeks but didn’t really believe they would be there that long. I’m glad they were. It was my highlight of the 2016-17 UF athletics calendar.

Here are reasons why and some updates since Omaha:

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FANTASTIC FAEDO

One of the pleasures of watching athletes compete on the biggest stage of their career is when they reach another level. One you always imagined was there but needed the moment to back up your instincts.

Alex Faedo pitched his way into CWS immortality. Faedo was brilliant throughout the postseason, but by pitching 14 1/3 shutout innings in Omaha and surrendering only five hits and six walks against 22 strikeouts, Faedo’s dominance resonated beyond Florida fans accustomed to his proficiency.Faedo didn’t pitch in the championship series against LSU, but no way the Gators are there without Faedo’s two wins against Texas Christian. Faedo was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player and finished his career with a 28-6 record, his .824 winning percentage the best in school history among pitchers with at […]