Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan has leaned on junior righty ace Brady Singer in big moments throughout the 2018 season.
So it’s no surprise that Singer get the call to start UF’s College World Series opener on Sunday night (7 p.m., ESPN2) at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., against Texas Tech.
Singer (12-1, 2.30 ERA) has bounced back from late-season hamstring issues to put together two stellar postseason starts. In UF’s Super Regional series against Auburn, Singer outdueled Auburn righty Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB draft earlier this month, allowing just two runs over 6.2 innings in an 8-2 Florida win.
“Brady Singer is as good a competitor as we’ve had in this program,” O’Sullivan said during his introductory CWS news conference Friday.
Singer will need to contend with a Texas Tech lineup that has shown the ability to break open games. The Red Raiders are averaging 8.3 runs per game, batting .311 on the season with 82 home runs. Third baseman Josh Jung leads Texas Tech’s potent lineup, batting .390 on the season with 12 home runs and 78 RBIs.
“Our lineup hasn’t changed since we started postseason play,” Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. “We got a bunch of guys that like to play. And obviously it’s going to be a dogfight playing all these guys.”
Texas Tech will counter Singer with senior lefty Dylan Dusek, who will be making just his fifth start of the season. Dusek (3-0, 2.03 ERA) has pitched just 1.2 innings and two innings in his last two starts. In both instances, righty Ryan Shetter (5-0, 3.03 ERA) came on in relief of Dusek to pitch deeper into the game.
Texas Tech is making its third College World Series trip in school history, all since 2014 under Tadlock. In 2016, Texas Tech beat Florida 3-2 in a CWS elimination game. The game ended when current UF third baseman Jonathan India, then a freshman, tried to stretch a single into a double and was thrown out at second base.
India has been UF’s best hitter this season, batting .354 with 20 home runs and 48 RBIs. The potential return of senior captain JJ Schwarz also could spark UF’s lineup. Schwarz, who has been out since breaking his hand on a foul tip in a May 18 game at Mississippi State, took batting practice in Omaha on Friday and looked fine.
“Whether he’s going to be able to play first or catch I’m not quite sure yet,” O’Sullivan said. “And obviously it’s still day-to-day.”
What: College World Series
Who: Texas Tech (44-18) vs. Florida (47-19)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: TD Ameritrade Park Omaha (Neb.)
Radio: AM-850, 98.1-FM
Pitching matchup: Tech Sr. LHP Dylan Dusek (3-0, 2.03 ERA) vs. UF Jr. RHP Brady Singer (12-1, 2.30).