Starting pitching fueling Florida to rematch vs. TCU at CWS

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Jackson Kowar
Jackson Kowar is scheduled to take the mound tonight for Florida in the winner's bracket final at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

OMAHA, Neb. — Florida made it to tonight’s College World Series winner’s bracket final on the arms of starting pitchers Alex Faedo and Brady Singer.

The UF starters combined to allow only one earned run in 14 innings and have struck out 14.

“The last two nights,” Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan said of Faedo (a 3-0 Sunday win over TCU) and Singer (a 5-1 Tuesday win over Louisville), “you saw two big leaguers. They both pitched great.”

For the third-seeded Gators (49-18) to make it to Monday’s championship series, they’ll need a strong effort from Jackson Kowar (12-0, 4.00 ERA) tonight against sixth seed TCU (49-17), a 4-3 winner Thursday night over Louisville in an elimination game.

“We’re excited we’re 2-0,” O’Sullivan said. “We’re not foolish to not know that we have a long way to go in this thing. And there’s three really good teams left in our bracket. And we’re not going to take anything for granted. We’re just looking forward to playing against a really good opponent on Friday night.”

It’s just the third time in 11 trips to Omaha that Florida has won its first two games. The other two times, 2005 and 2011, the Gators made it to the championship series.

“Most important game is Game 1,” O’Sullivan said. “If you’re fortunate enough to win Game 1, then Game 2. Then you put yourself in a position where somebody’s gotta beat you twice to get to the last round.

“And ideally for us to win on Friday night it would be ideal. It’s not going to be easy. But that would keep our rotation intact. But with that being said, the goal is to get the two wins and somebody’s gotta beat you twice.”

No. 4 seed LSU (50-18) plays top seed Oregon State (56-4) in the other winner’s bracket final at 3 p.m. today. The bracket winners begin play at 7 p.m. Monday in the best-of-three championship series.

TCU 4, Louisville 3: Sean Wymer struck out national player of the year Brendan McKay in two key situations while pitching 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief, and TCU was on the right side of two close plays in a win over Louisville in a College World Series elimination game.

The Horned Frogs (49-17) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, with one of their runs coming on a play at the plate that withstood a video review. Wymer (6-4) limited the Cardinals (53-12) to two hits after they had pulled within a run on McKay’s 18th homer of the year and Logan Taylor’s first homer in 123 games.

McKay came up two more times with chances to tie the game or give Louisville the lead, but Wymer struck him out to end the fifth and eighth innings. Louisville coach Dan McDonnell was ejected in the eighth for arguing a call at second base.

TCU, which took a 4-0 lead in the second inning against Nick Bennett (5-1), advances to the Bracket 2 final needing to beat Florida tonight and again Saturday to reach the best-of-three championship series for the first time.TCU advanced to its bracket final for the third year in a row.

The Frogs are making a run here thanks to their four straight years of experience in Omaha.

“I said the first day here, the best quality that our team has is just their presence, their experience, their poise under pressure,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.