A year ago, the Frogs were in the same position the Gators are in now - they had won their first two CWS games to climb into the bracket's catbird seat, then watched Coastal Carolina beat them twice in a row.
Not many saw the Tigers defeating Oregon State on Friday, but LSU came out to play and were able to put the country's best team on the back foot heading into Saturday's crucial matchup.
Should we have expected anything less of this 2017 Gators baseball team?
Florida began their run in Omaha with a 3-0 shutout of TCU. "We've just had to battle and scratch and claw and fight for everything". U of L catcher, Colby Fitch appears to make the tag, but the runner is ruled safe. The Gators were pushed to a winner-take-all finale in both the NCAA Regionals against Bethune-Cookman and the Super Regionals against Wake Forest, prevailing both times. But it's been a wild ride for those who live on every pitch. He suffered the first loss of his career after winning his first 15 decisions.
Gators starter Jackson Kowar provided a thrill for Florida fans early Friday night in his first CWS start.
"I'm looking forward to it", TCU right fielder Austen Wade said of the rematch.
Just like that, Florida was behind. The Gators walked six from the fourth through eighth innings against TCU.
However, Kowar ran into more two-out trouble in the fifth when Josh Watson stepped to the plate with two on. Nick Horvath in center field misplayed a long two-out fly ball that bounced off his glove and accounted for two runs in the fourth. Horvath broke in at first, then backpedaled only to have the ball bounce off his glove for a two-run triple.
With a chance to skip an elimination game, the Florida Gators (49-19) did nearly everything wrong Friday night in a 9-2 loss to TCU (50-17), forcing the two teams to meet again Saturday night at 8 pm for a victor moves on and loser goes home contest.
"We have other guys down there that have to pitch", said Schlossnagle, whose team was beaten twice by Coastal Carolina previous year in this bracket-final round.
This isn't TCU first rodeo in terms of being one win away from the finals.
Alex Faedo, who has been dominant in recent starts, will pitch for Florida.
But O'Sullivan knows Faedo can't do it alone. TCU starter Mitchell Traver walked the next two batters to set up a potential huge inning. "And they're playing with a lot of confidence". Entering Thursday's game, McKay was hitting.342 with the Cardinals with 56 RBIs, 17 homers and 75 hits. "Tomorrow is just another day". "I felt really good about - Wade, when he's hitting the ball the other way, like he said, staying on the baseball, he's as good a hitter as there is out there".
"Bottom line is, we need to score more", Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. The same teams play today with the victor advancing to the final while the loser is eliminated. Lange, a first-round draft pick this month of the Chicago Cubs, is aiming for his 30th career win and needs 11 strikeouts to equal the all-time record at LSU. Horned Frogs' nine-hole batter Ryan Merrill nudged the floodgates open with a single to right field, the first of three consecutive two-out hits. "I wish I could have gone deeper in the game". I think I should have made more competitive pitches.