Florida handles Louisville 5-1, advances to winner’s bracket final

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Florida's Deacon Liput, center, is mobbed by teammates
Florida's Deacon Liput, center, is mobbed by teammates at the dugout after he hit a three-run home run against Louisville, during the fourth inning of the Gators' 5-1 win over Louisville at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., on Tuesday. [AP Photo/Nati Harnik]

By Eric Olson
AP Sports Writer

OMAHA, Neb. — Brady Singer pitched seven strong innings and Austin Langworthy and Deacon Liput homered to lead Florida to a 5-1 win over Louisville in the College World Series on Tuesday night.

The Gators (49-18) have won their first two CWS games for the first time in four appearances since opening 3-0 and reaching the finals in 2011. Florida plays at 8 p.m. Friday in the Bracket 2 final against the winner of Thursday’s Louisville-TCU elimination game.

Louisville (53-11) managed one run on six hits and struck out nine times against Singer (8-5). Florida pitchers finished with 10 strikeouts, making it their fifth straight game with double-digit Ks.

UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan praised the performances of both Singer and Alex Faedo, who threw seven scoreless against TCU on Sunday.

“Over the past few weeks Alex Faedo and Brady stepped it up another level,” O’Sullivan said. “I think you saw it tonight. They’re dynamic and they can run up and down the lineup.”

The left-handed-swinging Langworthy, a Williston grad, sliced a ball just inside the left field foul pole in the third and Liput hit a three-run homer to right in the fourth. Both homers came against Louisville starter Kade McClure (8-4), who otherwise was impressive in striking out nine and walking one in six innings.

“When you get in this tournament, every run counts,” Liput said. “And being able to contribute and help this team is a huge accomplishment for me, and it felt really good. So, yeah, I guess (it was the most excited I’ve been).”

The 6-foot-7, 230-pound McClure had kept the game close until there were two outs in the fourth. He walked Nelson Maldonado and Jonathan India singled before Liput drove a low 1-2 pitch into the bullpen for his second homer in four games and third of the season. He celebrated in the dugout by dumping a bucket of ice water over the head of a Gators staff member.

Singer hummed along through six innings, striking out eight, walking none and limiting the Cardinals to three singles. Louisville broke through for a run in the seventh when Brendan McKay doubled and scored on Colin Lyman’s two-out single. A base hit and walk followed, but the Cardinals left the bases loaded when Logan Taylor grounded out.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to Brady Singer,” Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said.

Singer said Faedo provided some words of advice before his start Tuesday. The pair have combined for 14 innings and just one earned run this CWS.

“He talked to me how to pitch in this big ballpark, how to slow your heart rate down and to throw what Sully (O’Sullivan) calls.”

THAT HURT

Florida’s Maldonado, already playing on a bad ankle, hurt his right shoulder diving back to third base on a pickoff attempt in the fourth. The athletic trainer and coach Kevin O’Sullivan tended to Maldonado, who stayed in the game after moving his arms to loosen up.

WHAT’S THE COUNT?

A discrepancy on the ball-strike count arose in the third inning when Louisville’s Taylor took first base on a full count rather than a ball four. Home-plate umpire Troy Fullwood went to the video review area and put the headset on even though it was not a reviewable situation. Fullwood ordered Taylor to return to the batter’s box, and Singer struck him out on the next pitch.