For the first time in program history, the Texas Tech Red Raiders (45-18) started 1-0 in the College World Series by beating defending National Champions, the Florida Gators (47-20), 6-3. It was also the second time this year that the Red Raiders had defeated the Gators in the postseason since Texas Tech’s men’s basketball team won in the second round of the NCAA tournament against Florida.
In the bottom of the first, Florida shortstop Deacon Liput hit a long fly ball to left field, but Grant Little made an incredible diving catch to get the out. An error by Gabe Holt in right led to a Jonathan India triple, but a fly out ended the inning.
Florida’s first run would come in the bottom of the third. After a five pitch walk to Liput, Texas Tech went to the bullpen for right-handed pitcher Ryan Shetter. With no outs, Liput stole second on a wild pitch. Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung snagged a ground ball scorched down the left field line to get the first out of the inning. Liput stole third after a walk was issued to India, and a balk was called on Shetter to score the first run of the game. Shetter got a strike out to end the inning.
Texas Tech put a run on the board in the top of the fourth when Jung ripped a one-out line drive to right field. Florida pitcher Brady Singer balked to place Jung on second and then a passed ball moved Jung to third. Little then hit a deep sacrifice fly to left field scoring Jung.
In the top of the fifth, Cody Farhat hit a two-out single to center field and Braxton Fulford reached first on a throwing error that went into Texas Tech’s dugout, advancing the baserunners to second and third. Gabe Holt chopped a two-RBI single over the Florida’s second baseman to give Tech a 3-1 lead. Florida wouldn’t answer in the bottom of the inning.
To begin the sixth, Little ripped a one-out single to center and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Zach Rheams scorched an RBI-double off the right field fence and Davis kept the hits going with a liner to right-center field, scoring Rheams.
After a 14-pitch at bat in the previous inning, Cameron Warren got a hold of a pitch and sent a single to left field. The Red Raiders wouldn’t score any more in the frame but plated two to take a 5-1 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Texas Tech would go to the bullpen for Ty Harpenau after pinch-hitting freshman, Brady Smith, hit a one-out single for the Gators. Harpenau struck out Liput but gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Nelson Maldonado, cutting the lead to 5-3.
In the top of the ninth, Farhat struck out swinging, but was able to reach first on a wild pitch. Texas Tech would use small ball to advance Farhat to second on a sacrifice bunt by Fulford. Holt hit a clutch one-out, RBI-single to right field scoring Farhat from second and adding an insurance run to Tech’s lead. Batter’s interference would end the inning, but the Red Raiders would have a 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Harpenau struck out two Florida batters and got a 1-3 putout to end the game and give the Red Raiders their second ever victory in the College World Series, both coming against the Gators.
Dylan Dusek would get the start on the mound for Texas Tech. In two innings pitched, Dusek gave up one earned run on one hit, walked two and struck out a batter. Ryan Shetter replaced Dusek in the third and pitched in 4.1 innings. He gave up one run on three hits, walked one and struck out seven. Ty Harpenau would close out the game for the Red Raiders. In 2.2 innings pitched, he gave up one run on one hit, walked two and struck out three.
Florida started their ace and Dick Howser Trophy winner, Brady Singer. Singer pitched in 6.1 innings, giving up nine hits and two runs while earning five strike outs. Jordan Butler took Singer’s place on the mound going 1.1 innings and giving up two hits and no earned runs in his short outing. Michael Byrne would come in to close the game out for the Gators. He pitched in 1.1 innings, gave up one earned run on one hit and struck out three.
Texas Tech will play Arkansas, who beat Texas 11-5 in their first game, on June 19 at 6 p.m.