After an exciting week in Omaha, we have our two finalist for the Men’s College World Series crown in LSU and Florida.
Most people thought it was a down year in the SEC for baseball, but it turns it out they had the two best teams in the country.
Both Florida and LSU lost a game before winning their respective brackets.
LSU lost their second game in the College World Series badly in a 13-1 loss to number one Oregon State. However, they bounced back to eliminate Florida State and got a rematch with the Beavers.
Alex Lange was dominant in their second game against Oregon State – and got some help on a bad foul call – as the Tigers won 3-1. Oregon State came out flat in the next game as LSU was all over them 6-1.
The Florida pitching staff was lights out in their first two games allowing just one run combined in wins over TCU and Louisville.
The Horned Frogs got the Gators the next time around winning 9-2, forcing a decisive game. But Alex Faedo was once again money for Florida as they shutout the powerful TCU lineup for the second time in a week.
The formula for success is pretty clear for Florida. They look to dominate you with their pitching, and then hope they score enough runs to win.
Faedo might be done in this College World Series after pitching on Saturday, but it’s possible we could see him in a relief appearance in a potential game three situation.
Brady Singer is no slouch though. He’ll get the ball in game one for Florida with his 3.18 ERA in 119 innings and 117 strikeouts. He has been tremendous in the postseason, and I don’t expect anything less in the College World Series finals.
Nelson Maldonado has been Florida’s best hitter over the course of the season, but he’s been dealing with an injury lately and is not 100 percent.
Others in the lineup are going to have to step up to give the Florida pitching staff some breathing room.
They’ll be facing an LSU team that has been the hottest team in the country over the past two months winning 25 of their last 28 games.
And they are getting it done on the hitting and pitching side. After allowing 13 runs in their first game against Oregon State, they allowed just two in their next two matchups against the best regular season team we’ve maybe ever seen.
The offense for LSU has cooled off a bit in Omaha averaging just 4.4 runs per game in their five games. That’s two runs off their season total.
They had to burn their ace in Alex Lange on Friday to stay alive in the tournament. We likely won’t see him unless there is a game three in this series.
It’s unclear if LSU will throw Jared Poche in game one or game two, but either way, if they are going to win the championship it will be up to their offense.
Leadoff hitter Kramer Robertson was ice cold in Omaha before breaking out in their 6-1 win over Oregon State Saturday. If he can carry that momentum into the finals I think LSU will be fine.
Zach Watson has been one of the most impressive hitters in this tournament to me, and he now leads LSU with a .322 batting average. He’s hitting .500 (8-19) in the College World Series, and he’s just a freshman.
Of course, these two teams know each other very well playing in the same conference. When these two teams met in Gainesville back in March the Gators took 2-of-3. Florida dominated the first two games of that series holding LSU to just one run.
Singer and Faedo combined to give up one run in 16 innings in those first two games against LSU. They allowed just 13 hits and zero walks with 11 strikeouts. Unfortunately for the Gators, they may not be able to use Faedo in this series.
Poche only lasted four innings the last time he faced Florida, so that could give the Gators some confidence.
Prediction: I’ll admit, seeing two teams from the same conference matchup in the College World Series finals is a bit boring. But this should still be an entertaining series. The two were co-champions in the SEC during the regular season, so this will solve that problem.
I honestly think Florida has had better teams in the College World Series the past few years, but they still haven’t been able to win a championship. Maybe this is the year Kevin O’Sullivan gets it done.
I picked LSU to win it all from the beginning, so I’m going to stick to my guns.
The Gators should have a great advantage in game one with Singer on the mound, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Florida takes the first game. But I think LSU comes back and wins the next two with Lange on the mound in the final game.