Logan Shore saved the honor of the Southeastern Conference for at least one night. Florida is now the SEC’s only hope to avoid a College World Series shutout after Shore gave up only 2 hits and struck out 9 in 8 innings to lead the Gators to a 5-0 win over Florida State, evening the NCAA Super Regional series at 1-1.
Game three in the series is tonight with lefty A.J. Puk (2-3, 3.21 ERA), the first round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics, getting the call for UF in this do or die affair at McKethan Stadium.
After losing to FSU, 3-0, Saturday night, the Gators had to have a brilliant performance from Shore, who was Oakland’s second pick in the draft, and the junior righty (12-0, 2.24 ERA) delivered a masterpiece. He 2 singles and walked two, turning the game over to closer Shaun Anderson after walking a batter in the ninth. Anderson, a 3rd round pick of the Boston Red Sox, walked one then got a ground out and a double play grounder to end the game.
Peter Alonso gave Shore and the Gators all the offense they needed with a 1st inning double and a 3rd inning RBI groundout. Alonso finished the night with 3 doubles to raise his batting average to .370. Freshman Deacon Liput gave UF insurance in the top of the 8th with a bases loaded single to drive home Buddy Reed and Alonso and after Alonso doubled in the 9th, JJ Schwarz doubled down the left field line to provide the final margin.
With five teams hosting a Super Regional it looked like a slam dunk for the SEC to wind up with at least 2-3 teams making it to Omaha, but all five SEC teams lost their first game. Mississippi State, LSU and South Carolina were two and through, the Aggies went down in three games and the Gators forced a third game. If UF doesn’t come through tonight, the SEC will be shut out. Who would have ever thought that?
GATORS GIVE MIKE HOLLOWAY HIS 6TH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
NCAA championship #6 might be the most unforgettable for Florida track and field coach Mike Holloway, whose Gators took what can only be called a rather circuitous route to the NCAA outdoor championship in Eugene, Oregon over the weekend. These are the same Gators who finished a rather disappointing seventh in the NCAA indoor championships and followed that up with an even more disappointing sixth at the SEC outdoor meet.
Somehow Mike got these guys to believe in themselves and what they did in Eugene defies description. The Gators lost four points in the 400 meter finals when Najee Glass was disqualified for a lane violation, which meant UF had to score at least a 6th place finish in the final event – the 4X400 meter relay – to win the team title. The Gators finished 2nd with Glass shrugging off the disqualification to run the anchor leg to secure the NCAA championship for UF.
In coming up big on day three, the Gators became the first team ever to finish lower than fifth at the indoor meet to come back to win the outdoor title. UF also became the first team to ever finish 6th or lower at the SEC meet to come back to win the NCAA title.
That gives Mike six national championships, most of any Gator coach in any sport in history – three indoor (2010-12) and three outdoor (2011-12, 2016). The Gators have won six national track championships since 2010, most in the NCAA.
NOT A GREAT YEAR FOR NATIONAL TITLES IN THE SEC
While Florida (men) and Arkansas (women) did the SEC proud by bringing home national championships over the weekend, it hasn’t been a great year for the league. Unless the SEC wins a national championship in baseball, the league will finish with only four national championships this year, worst among the power five conferences.
The SEC does have the crown jewel of all national championships thanks to Alabama winning the football title, but since then it’s just been a national title for women’s swimming by Georgia and the two outdoor track titles.
The Pac-12 didn’t get a single national title in a revenue sport but the league did come up with 10 national titles including clean sweeps (men and women) for both golf (Oregon men and Washington women), water polo (UCLA men and Southern Cal women) and indoor track (both Oregon). The Big 12, Big Ten and ACC all came up with five national titles.
DRAYMOND GREEN SUSPENDED ONE GAME, BUT LEBRON WILL PLAY
Draymond Green and LeBron James got into it Friday night when the Warriors knocked off Cleveland to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Championship Finals. As a result, Draymond Green will sit Monday night’s game 5. I think both Green should sit. I think he continually pushes the envelope with his physical play and he’s always got an excuse when he takes a knee to someone else’s groin or a swipe to someone’s face with an elbow. It’s always “a basketball play” in his own estimation. My belief is the NBA has had it with his explanations.
With that said, I think LeBron got a pass. Maybe he was only retaliating but I think he went too far.
Surprisingly, Green had an unexpected defender in Charles Barkley of TNT Sports.
"I gave Draymond a compliment," Barkley said. "I said, 'You could have played in our day.' Because when a guy steps over you, you have a moral obligation to punch him ... You have a moral obligation. Because that's really disrespectful to step over a guy. You're supposed to pop him in his junk if he steps over you like that. That's a perfectly fine response if a guy does that.
"Now, you gotta act like you didn't try to do it. I will admit that. You got to act like you didn't mean to do it. But listen man, and I can say it, I told Draymond that: when somebody steps over you, they're doing that intentionally to just like rub it in your face. I mean, they're deliberately trying to punk you in that situation."
BIZARRE DECISION BY LSU
The athletic administration at LSU, for whom the word bizarre is synonymous, may have outdone itself with its latest decision. Declaring safety is an issue, LSU will no longer allow visiting bands to perform at halftime at Tiger Stadium.
I do not have to make this up.
“It’s a safety issue,” LSU SID Michael Bonnette explained to The Advocate. “We don’t have room down there for both bands. In order for both bands to perform at half, they’ve got to come down to the field before the first half ends and that’s a lot of people on the sideline.”
Are you buying that explanation? I don’t.
Because of the new policy, Alabama, for example, will only bring a pep band. If they’re not going to perform at the half, why bring the whole band?
And of course, when the other team’s whole band is there, they make more noise and probably give more energy to the fan base, which trekked however many hundreds of miles to be at Tiger Stadium.
Now, LSU wouldn’t be trying to add to its home field advantage, now would they?
Personally, I think the SEC should intervene. Bands are part of southern football culture and what LSU is doing takes away from that big game atmosphere that sells the SEC nationally.
If the SEC is unwilling to intervene, then individual schools should ban LSU from bringing its band.
Daniel Berger warmed up for Oakmont and the US Open by holding on to win the FedEx St. Jude’s Classic in Memphis at -13, holding off hard charging Phil Mickelson (who hit a 44.4 foot birdie putt in the final round) and Dustin Johnson (eagle on 16, birdie on 18 to close out a 63). All eyes will be on Jason Day, Rory McIroy and Jordan Spieth this week, but I like it when guys head into the Open with momentum. I’m showing my age, but I’d like to see Phil get one more major before he’s off to the senior tour.
UEFA has warned England and Russia that they could be disqualified from the Euro 2016 tournament if their fans don’t tone it down. I’d say it’s 50-50 at best that they will behave.
UCF’s athletic department is debating expanding the stadium to 65,000 seats in an attempt to convince the Big 12 Conference to expand to Orlando. UCF is also adding new video boards at both the football stadium and the basketball arena.
Poor Kentucky. The Wildcats are doing their best to upgrade the football program but it’s hard to do it when Alabama steals your longtime QB commitment. After Mac Jones (6-2, 190, Jacksonville, FL Bolles) threw for Bama OC Lane Kiffin in Tuscaloosa, he got a scholarship offer from Alabama. It took him about two seconds to flip his commitment from Kentucky to Alabama.
While many think the 2003 NBA Draft that featured LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in the first five picks is the best ever, Ben Lebowitz of Point After makes a compelling case for the draft class of 1996. The first five picks in 1996 were Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Ben Wallace.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Two part question: Did you see the replay of the Draymond Green-LeBron James scuffle and do you think it’s fair that Green is suspended a game while James gets no punishment?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
John Sebastian went to Cass Elliott’s Greenwich Village apartment to watch The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1965. That’s where he met Zal Yanovsky and where The Lovin’ Spoonful originated. For five years, they were regulars on the radio, hitting #1 with the single “Summer in the City” and #2 with “Daydream” and “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind.” The band started having problems in 1967 when Yanovsky left for his native Canada after a US arrest for marijuana and producer Erik Jacobsen bolted for what he thought were greener pastures. The band had a short run, but their sound was unique and made a lasting impression on the 1960s music scene.