Florida starter Brady Singer struck out 12 and allowed just three runs on eight hits over seven innings as the Gators held off a late LSU rally to win 4-3and draw first blood in the College World Series finals at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Monday.
Singer’s 12 strikeouts are the most ever recorded in a single contest in the tournament’s championship series.
The win was Florida’s first-ever victory in the best-of-three final round. The Gators have previously made the championship series twice, but were swept on both occasions courtesy of Texas (in 2005) and South Carolina (in 2011).
Third baseman Jonathan India provided Singer with key run support in the fourth when his ground-rule double scored both Nelson Maldonado and JJ Schwarz to extend the Gators’ lead to 3-0.
Catcher Mike Rivera and left fielder Austin Langworthy plated the other two runs for the Gators, while Antoine Duplantis, Josh Smith, and Beau Jordan drove in the Tigers’ three runs.
LSU starter Russell Reynolds was pulled in the fourth after facing just 13 batters. He was replaced on the mound by Nick Bush after his walk to Maldonado loaded the bases for the Gators. Bush, however, failed to bail out his starter, allowing the Gators to score three runs in the frame, all of them charged to Reynolds.
Game 2 will be played Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, while Game 3 – if necessary – will be played at the same time on Wednesday.