College World Series 2017: 5 key moments from Florida’s Game 1 win

Florida and LSU are so evenly matched that predictions are a moot point. Just let them play behind strong arms on the hill and whatever hitting is generated after that.

On Monday, the Gators and Tigers kicked off the College World Series final round, a best-of-three tilt that will determine this year’s NCAA baseball tournament champion, and damn did they deliver in an already much anticipated matchup. The game was riddled with highlights, lowlights, and lights-out pitching in between. Florida eventually prevailed, 4-3.

After UNC beat FGCU to eliminate the Eagles, that set up the hosts for another date with Davidson, which, unlike UNC, didn’t have to play a doubleheader on the regional’s final day. All of the game’s scoring occurred in the fifth, with Wildcats right fielder Will Robertson getting a two-run hit in the top of the frame and the Tar Heels’ Michael Busch slapping a solo homer in the bottom of it. That’s all Davidson would need to finish off the No. 2 team in the land and earn rights to a super regional tilt with Texas A&M in College Station.

Outside of their performance on the diamond, though, Davidson’s story involves near tragedy and curious distribution of the team’s scholarships. Most if not all of this Wildcats team won’t be playing at the professional level, but that doesn’t matter, because they’re playing with house money every time they take the field the rest of the way.

O’Linger pitched eight stellar innings in the Wildcats’ regional opener against UNC, then came back for two innings of relief work when they beat them again in the final. He also threw 236 pitches in three days during the Atlantic-10 tournament the previous weekend. Just an absolute workhorse.

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