2017-06-19 / State/National Sports

Faedo pitches Florida to 3-0 opening win

Florida pitcher Alex Faedo delivers a pitch in the first inning of a College World Series game against TCU in Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday. 
AP Photo by NATI HARNIK Florida pitcher Alex Faedo delivers a pitch in the first inning of a College World Series game against TCU in Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday. AP Photo by NATI HARNIK OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Detroit Tigers’ brass must have been smiling after the performance Alex Faedo put on at TD Ameritrade Park. The Florida Gators sure were.

Faedo limited TCU to two singles and struck out 11 in seven innings Sunday night, and Florida posted its first College World Series shutout since 1991 with a 3-0 win.

The Tigers’ first-round draft pick this month had at least one strikeout each inning and retired 10 in a row before turning the game over to closer Michael Byrne to start the eighth.

“There have been historic great pitchers come through, Rosenblatt and now TD Ameritrade, and tonight has to go down as a great, great performance in the College World Series history,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

Faedo, who mixed his slider with a mid-90s fastball during his dominant 106-pitch performance, has been part of seven of the Gators’ nine shutouts this season. This shutout was Florida’s second in its 36 all-time CWS games and first in Omaha since a 5-0 win over Florida State 26 years ago.

“Just throwing whatever Sully wanted me to throw and trusting him and Mike,” Faedo said, referring to Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan and catcher Mike Rivera. “They know the hitters more than anyone. Just trusting them and just attacking the zone with whatever they call.”

TCU’s Jared Janczak (9-1) struggled in his four innings. Byrne worked out of two mini jams and earned his 17th save.

JJ Schwarz, Christian Hicks and Nelson Maldonado each drove in runs for the Gators (48-18).

Florida is in the CWS for the sixth time in eight years and TCU (47-17) for the fourth year in a row. This was the first time they’ve met.

Last year, Faedo was a hard-luck loser in an elimination game against Texas Tech. Sunday, he walked two in addition to giving up an infield single and base hit to left.

“We had a game plan going against him. Having a game plan and executing against a great pitcher are two different things,” Schlossnagle said. “It was his night, no question.”

Connor Wanhanen said he and his teammates were looking for one pitch all night.

“Whether it be lefties or righties, we were trying to hunt the fastball because we knew he could leave it up sometimes and we could do some damage with it,” Wanhanen said. “But he did an outstanding job just mixing and matching and throwing strikes when he needed to and keeping the ball down for the most part. When he did elevate it, we just weren’t able to put our best swings on it.”

The Frogs squandered their few chances, getting picked off first base twice and having a runner thrown out when he tried to take second on a pitch in the dirt. In the third inning, Zach Humphreys and Evan Skoug, the Frogs’ leading home run hitter, struck out with the bases loaded.

“That was huge,” Faedo said, “because I feel like there’s always at least one time in the game where something like that will happen to me, where there’s either bases loaded or a couple of guys on. You have to find a way to get out of that because you know when you get out of that big situation, the other team, they maybe fold up a little bit or we get a little bit more confident.”

TCU didn’t have another batter reach base until Wanhanen bunted for a hit to open the eighth against Byrne. Wanhanen got to third when Ryan Merrill singled, but Byrne struck out pinch hitter Evan Williams to end the threat. In the ninth, after Warner doubled with one out, Byrne struck out Brown and got Elliott Barzilli to ground out.

Louisville 8, Texas A&M 4

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Louisville had an early five-run lead against Texas A&M and national player of the year Brendan McKay was on the mound. It should have been game over, right?

“We knew Texas A&M wasn’t going to fold,” coach Dan McDonnell said.

The Aggies didn’t. They pulled within a run in the sixth inning before Sam Bordner shut them down with three innings of no-hit relief, and the Cardinals went on to an 8-4 victory Sunday in the College World Series.

“It wasn’t the best game of the year, but we understand now — as we’ve seen two on TV and played in one — that these games aren’t always the cleanest,” McDonnell said. “There’s too much competition. Everybody is playing too hard. It’s not supposed to be smooth and easy.”

The Cardinals (53-10) used six singles and a walk to build a 5-0 lead in the second inning against Corbin Martin (7-4). Texas A&M chipped away against McKay (11-3) to make it 5-4 before Bordner entered and continued to flash his postseason dominance. The sophomore has given up no runs and one hit in his last 11 innings over four appearances.

“I think Sam’s been the X factor, a little under the radar,” McDonnell said. “When you’re in that first out-of-the-bullpen or middle relief role, it’s just not as sexy, and you don’t get as much attention. But clearly Sam’s been hot all year.”

With Bordner doing his thing, the Cardinals added two runs in the bottom of the sixth and another when Colby Fitch doubled in the eighth for his fourth RBI.

Louisville had gone 0-5 over its last three appearances in Omaha. The Aggies (41-22) have lost seven straight CWS games and face going two-and-out for the third straight time.

“It’s about going out there and playing the game like it’s your last one because now it could be,” Nick Choruby said.

The Cardinals knocked Martin out of the game in the second, and the Aggies called on season-long ace Brigham Hill to settle things down.

Hill gave up no runs until the sixth, but the Aggies’ offense couldn’t overcome the big lead Louisville built. No team has overcome a five-run deficit to win at the CWS since the event moved to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011.

“Very proud of our guys finding themselves down 5-0 after two,” Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said. “From that point on you have to be perfect to have a chance to beat McKay and to beat a team like Louisville, and we certainly had a shot.”

McKay lasted five innings, matching the shortest outing of the season by the first college player taken in the draft. The No. 4 overall pick by Tampa Bay allowed four runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out six.

“I worked out of a lot of jams,” McKay said. “It’s hard to pitch effectively when you’re in jams like that.”

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