Gators power past Miami to CWS semifinals

Former Florida outfielder Preston Tucker had the longest home run in College World Series history at TD Ameritrade Park coming into Wednesday. His homer would fall to fourth on the all-time list by the time his college program was done on Wednesday.

The Gators crushed four homers while pounding Miami 10-2 to stay alive in the College World Series. The four home runs for Florida were more than were hit during the entire 2013 or 2014 College World Series. No team had ever hit three home runs in one game at TD Ameritrade Park, and the Gators got on the board early with two in the first inning.

“That kind of set the tone,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said about the two early homers. “In these elimination games, you have to build momentum early on and we did.”

The Gators will face Virginia on Friday at 3 p.m. EST. Florida will have to beat the Cavaliers on Friday and Saturday to advance to the championship series while Virginia just has to win one of those games. Florida will start ace Logan Shore (10-6, 2.55 ERA) on Friday. Virginia hasn’t announced its starter yet.

The Florida homers weren’t cheap ones either. Richie Martin’s sixth-inning, opposite field homer barely cleared the right field fence, but the other three were crushed. Harrison Bader started it off with a 414-foot homer during the first at-bat of the game to put the Gators on the board. It was the first leadoff homer in the College World Series since Michael Hollander hit one for LSU in 2008.

After J.J. Schwarz lined a two-out single to left field in the first inning, Buddy Reed hit a towering, 412-foot homer to right-center to give the Gators a 3-0 lead before they ever played defense.

With Florida leading 8-2 in the seventh inning, Pete Alonso hit a two-run homer to center field that rewrote the record books again. The sophomore’s blast went 421 feet, moving him to the top of the longest at TD Ameritrade Park to continue setting records in Omaha.

“I wasn’t trying to do anything at all other than barrel something up,” Bader said. “It definitely felt good to get off to an early start though.”

Including Tucker’s 406-foot homer in 2011, the Gators now have the four longest home runs hit in College World Series games at TD Ameritrade Park, which opened in 2011.

“We elevated the ball on the day the wind was blowing out,” O’Sullivan added. “It could be a totally different set of circumstances if the wind is blowing in. The conditions dictate home runs in this ballpark.”

On the mound, Florida freshman Alex Faedo allowed one earned run on three hits and four walks while striking out a career-high seven hitters in 5.1 innings of work to earn the win. He leaned heavily on his slider to get Miami hitters chasing out of the zone.

After he gave up back-to-back singles in the sixth inning, Kirby Snead came in and got a strikeout before shortstop Richie Martin’s throwing error scored both runs. Snead went three perfect innings to save other bullpen arms while sophomore Shaun Anderson finished the game off in the ninth inning.

Video compliments of the NCAA

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