Game 2 of the Gainesville Regional has come to a close, and the Auburn Tigers have new life in the NCAA Tournament. The game began with first pitch at noon EST, as the host and top national seed Florida Gators looked to lock up a bid to the College World Series with a win. The featured matchup was between starting pitchers Jackson Kowar of Florida and freshman phenom Tanner Burns of Auburn.
Both Pitchers Start Hot
The game began as if Casey Mize and Brady Singer were both on the mound, as each pitcher held the opposing team scoreless for the first three innings. The scoring opened in the top of the fourth inning when Gator’s CF Nick Horvath doubled down the left field line. It seemed as if the Gators had finally figured out Burns and would run away with the series. Burns, however, was able to regain his composure and strike out the following batter to end the inning.
Auburn quickly responded with a run of its own thanks to RF Steven Williams. Williams crushed a solo home run to the Auburn bullpen to tie the game at one run apiece. The game seemed as if it would head to extra innings at the same score for the majority of the game. Burns finished his day of work after six strong innings, in which he only gave up one run on five hits. He also added three strikeouts and left the field to a standing ovation from both Tiger and Gator fans.
Burns was replaced by fellow freshman Cody Greenhill in the top of the seventh. Greenhill kept the Florida lineup under control in the seventh inning, but Auburn was unable to take advantage of a scoring opportunity from Estes in the bottom of the inning. Greenhill got into some trouble in the eighth, as Deacon Liput managed to reach third on a throwing error by Auburn C Brett Wright. Jonathan India hit into a fielder’s choice, where Liput was tagged out at home, and the Tigers found a way out of the bind.
Kowar’s Day Comes to an End
The bottom of the eighth began with a Florida pitching change, as they decided to go to LHP Jordan Butler. Kowar’s day ended after seven solid innings of only three hits and one run allowed, as well as six strikeouts and no walks. Auburn took advantage of the pitching change by way of an infield single from Josh Anthony and an RBI double from Will Holland, his first hit of the Super Regional. The inning quickly ended with two more outs, but Anthony’s score gave the Tigers a late 2-1 lead heading into the ninth.
The Gators quickly rebounded and tied the game up with a solo blast to right field off of the bat of Austin Langworthy. Greenhill went on to walk one batter after a quick out, but he regrouped and forced Horvath into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Greenhill went to the bench hanging his head as the Tiger came to the plate in the final frame.
Jarvis Walks it Off
Brenden Venter began the inning by drawing a leadoff walk, and he put the winning run on base. Halfway into Edouard Julien’s at-bat, Florida made another change by going to closer Michael Byrne. Byrne pitched two innings on Saturday, so he was working on very short rest. He finished off Julien with a strikeout to bring Jay Estes to the plate with one out and a man on first. Estes singled to left field, putting two men on base for the struggling Luke Jarvis. Florida saw a prime opportunity to force Jarvis into a double play and head to extra innings. Jarvis swung at the first pitch he saw and drove it into the gap in center field deep enough to score pinch runner Cade Evans and walk the game off. The single was his first hit of the Super Regional, and it could not have come at a better time or in better fashion.
Game 3 Ready
The Tigers and Gators will now have to face off in a Game 3 on Monday where the winner will advance to the CWS and the loser’s season will come to a disappointing end. First pitch will be at 8:30 pm EST, so keep up with @ArmchairCBB to follow the action on the #RoadtoOmaha.