In a weather-delayed game that continued on Tuesday morning the Florida Gators (52-17) had no trouble sleeping as they defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores (53-11) by a score of 3-1 Tuesday morning on Omaha.
The Gators have put themselves in fantastic position to play as the Bracket #1 representative in the best-of-three championship series that begins next Monday. They need just one more win to advance to this series.
The road just became much more difficult for Vanderbilt after this loss, who came in as one of the sleepers with all of the buzz surrounding Virginia and just-eliminated Texas. Vandy now takes on North Carolina in an elimination game Wednesday night at 7pm ET, and the winner of that game will face Florida on Friday. They will have to beat the Gators twice to advance to the championship series.
Florida's Karsten Whitson and Steven Rodriguez were brilliant as they combined to throw all 9 innings for the Gators while allowing just one run on 4 hits with 12 strikeouts. Rodriguez was especially brilliant as he didn't allow but one base-runner in his 4.1 innings while striking out seven Commodore hitters. This wasn't like pitching to a cupcake either. Vanderbilt came into this game in the top five in the country in team batting average. That's just how good Whitson and Rodriguez threw for Florida.
Preston Tucker was the offensive MVP of the game for Florida as he finished the game 2-4 with all three Florida RBI's and a run scored. All three Florida runs were scored in the top of the 4th inning. Nolan Fontana started the rally with a walk, before SEC Player of the Year Mike Zunino singled to set the stage for Tucker. Tucker blasted a three-run home run to right field to give Whitson and Rodriguez all the run support they would need.
Florida can sit back and relax now because they have two days off before facing either Vanderbilt again, or North Carolina on Friday at 2pm ET.