Injuries are in the Past for Toledo

Tommy Toledo's time on the mound at Florida hasn't been easy. It was full of heartbreak caused by injuries that capped his potential until the second half of this season. However, what happened on Sunday made it all worth it. Toledo threw the final 2.2 innings of Sunday's game that sent Florida to the College World Series.

The final out came against Nick Vickerson, who burned Florida all weekend. The Mississippi State second baseman launched a fly ball that looked like it could have been a home run off the bat, but it fell into left fielder Tyler Thompson's glove on the warning track.

Toledo turned around to see a scene that forced all the injuries and frustration to the back of his mind. The entire Florida team poured out of the dugout and sprinted towards the mound to celebrate with a dog pile.

"It was unbelievable," Toledo said. "To see my teammates run out there like that, there's just no better feeling than that and to go back to Omaha. That was our goal, and we worked together for it. I was just really happy for us to get back (to Omaha)."

There were times in his career at Florida where Toledo could've given up. He was a third round selection of the San Diego Padres in the MLB Draft out of Alonso High School, but he elected to show up on the Florida campus instead.

Toledo suffered a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder after his freshman season on the mound for the Gators, causing him to miss his second year and redshirt. He came back in 2010 and was poised for a rebound season, when he was hit in the face by a line drive against Charleston Southern in the fourth weekend of the year.

Toledo fought his way back, missing only two months of the season despite multiple facials fractures. That made it even easier for Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan to keep Toledo on the mound for the final outs.

"It's a very fitting end to possibly his last game at Florida," O'Sullivan said. "With everything he has been through, I've got a great deal of respect for him and his family. He was part of my first recruiting class when I got the job, and we had to recruit him after he got drafted. After the injuries he has been through and ups and downs, I couldn't be more happy and proud of him."

The Milwaukee Brewers in the 11th round drafted Toledo earlier this month. He's expected to sign after the year is over and begin his pro career. Between now and then, there's only one way the journey could get better—leaving Omaha with a ring.


Fightin Gators Top Stories