Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Florida beat Vanderbilt 3-1 in the first winner's bracket game of the College World Series. Due to storms that hit downtown Omaha on Monday, the game was suspended that night and resumed at 11:06 a.m. Tuesday.

The win was Florida's school-record 52nd. The Gators are now 52-17, and remain in the CWS winner's bracket. They will play the winner of Wednesday's North Carolina-Vanderbilt on Friday.
Vanderbilt's Jason Esposito was hitting with two outs and a 1-0 count when the weather suspension occured Monday night. Upon the restart, he quickly was set down on strikes by Gators reliever Steven Rodriguez, who remained in the game after entering in favor of starter Karsten Whitson. Whitson was taken out in the fifth.

Since entering, Rodgriuez, who remained in the game after the restart, struck out eight, including six of his last 11 batters.
Play was halted at TD Ameritrade Park at 8:02 p.m. CT Monday after heavy rains and winds descended upon the stadium.

First, a tornado siren sounded around downtown Omaha as dark clouds rapidly moved toward the stadium from the west. About a minute-and-a-half after the sirens sounded, players and fans were asked to evacuate the field and seating areas. About five minutes later, as rain began to fall, media in the press box was told to walk to the stadium's basement and to take shelter.

According to the ballpark's public address announcer, the delay was part of a high wind advisory. There was a tornado watch that went into effect just as the game was being delayed. Winds were reported to be in excess of 75 mph.

Early in the fourth, Florida cleanup hitter Preston Tucker blasted a three-run home run to right field, depositing a shot into the seats above the visitor's bullpen. It was his 15th. It also was just the second home run of the CWS. Connor Harrell hit a homer to left field for Vanderbilt on the opening day of the Series.

Tucker's homer was preceded by a walk from leadoff hitter Bryson Smith and an infield single from No. 2 hitter Nolan Fontana.

The long ball aside, both pitchers came as advertised early in the ballgame. Each starter had a pair of strikeouts through two innings played.

Whitson brought an 8-0 record and 2.45 ERA into the ballgame. The right-hander escaped trouble in the bottom of the third when he bounced back from allowing a one-out triple to Vanderbilt leadoff hitter Tony Kemp. With the infield in, Whitson got the Commodores' No. 2 hitter, Anthony Gomez, to ground weakly to first. The runner couldn't advance. A batter later, Vanderbilt's best hitter, Aaron Westlake, struck out to strand Kemp.

Westlake entered the game batting .349. He also had a team-leading 17 home runs.

After recording two outs in the fifth, he was taken out in favor of left-hander Steven Rodriguez. Rodriguez promptly retired Westlake on strikes to end the inning and a Florida jam. Earlier in the inning, Harrell scored after being driven in by a Gomez single to left.

On the mound for the Commodores was SEC pitcher of the year Grayson Garvin (13-1, 2.36). The left-hander had 92 strikeouts entering the ballgame, and had nine through six innings. His only real mistake has been the homer to Tucker. Florida's 5-9 hitters were 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts through six innings.

Gators No. 6 hitter Brian Johnson had three strikeouts in the game, while No. 7 hitter Daniel Pigott had two.

Garvin was replaced when Will Clinard took over after the weather suspension was lifted.

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