CWS BASEBALL: Preview of Gators vs. Nebraska

Southeastern Conference Champion Florida (46-20) will face Big 12 Champion Nebraska (57-13) in a College World Series winners' bracket showdown Sunday night. The Gators will be challenged by the ace of the Cornhuskers staff, freshman right hander Johnny Dorn (12-1).

Florida has faced some of the best pitchers in college baseball this season, North Carolina southpaw Andrew Miller, Miami's Cesar Carrillo, Ole Miss' Mark Holliman, Vanderbilt's Jensen Lewis, Villanova's Nick Allen, Florida State's Bryan Henry (twice), and Tennessee's Luke Hochevar (twice) just to name a few. Dorn will be yet another name that rightfully belongs on the list.

The 6'3 205 former State of Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year does not possess an overpowering fastball. He locates his breaking ball well, very well. Dorn has a very good curveball and a slider that can be nasty when he is on.

He has been invited to the 2005 USA Baseball National Team Trials. The Grand Island, Nebraska native has more wins than any other freshman pitcher in the country. His ERA is the 14th best in the land.

Dorn handcuffed the Miami Hurricanes last weekend, allowing just one earned run in 6.1 innings of work to help the Cornhuskers eliminate the ‘Canes in the minimum amount of games necessary. Miami was able to put the ball in play. Unfortunately, the Cornhuskers were outstanding as usual in the field.


Record

IP

ERA

Opp BA

BB

SO

2B

HR

Johnny Dorn

12-1

100.0

1.98

.194

21

75

10

4

Tommy Boss

8-4

101.1

4.17

.285

15

59

18

8

The Gators will counter with senior right hander Tommy Boss (8-4). The Dunnellon native is pitching as well as ever since donning the Orange and Blue. He always emerges in big games down the stretch.

Boss' most recent outing may well have been the best performance of his Florida career. He allowed only one run and seven hits in a complete game beauty against arch-rival Florida State. The line on Boss is that he is outstanding at locating his pitches and he keeps the ball down. He has demonstrated a pretty nasty curveball at times.

Offensive production

The Cornhuskers have the National Player of the Year in third baseman Alex Gordon. He leads the club in every offensive category. Gordon was selected second overall in the Major League Baseball draft by the Kansas City Royals. He ranks eighth nationally with a .740 slugging percentage.

First baseman Curtis Ledbetter is second among the Cornhuskers in pure power numbers. He struggled at the plate against Miami, going hitless in nine at bats. Brandon Buckman hits for average, but does not have power.


Avg.

2B

3B

HR

Slug%

BB

SO

OB%

Gordon

.377

22

4

19

.734

62

36

.526

Buckman

.329

10

0

2

.430

19

28

.396

Ledbetter

.324

18

1

13

.534

14

44

.368

The Big Red are a veteran group who have seen some very good mound hounds in the pitching rich Big 12. They are very similar to Florida in the respect that somebody is always seemingly picking them up.


Avg.

2B

3B

HR

Slug%

BB

SO

OB%

Nebraska

.302

124

15

66

.451

300

387

.394

Florida

.299

107

7

80

.456

317

479

.398

Fielding

The Cornhuskers are an outstanding fielding team. Third baseman Alex Gordon leads the ‘Huskers with 15 errors in 224 chances. He has a very strong arm, but does not always field the ball cleanly.

Despite having nearly 100 additional chances the Cornhuskers do not have an infield capable of turning the double play as well as Florida's Justin Tordi and Adam Davis. The Gators should hustle down after putting the ball into play and hope that Nebraska is unable to turn the 6-4-3.

The first pitch between Florida and Nebraska will take place at 7pm EST.


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