Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.
Steak-burgers. Milkshakes at Zestos. Girls in bars who think you look like “Steve the Pirate” from Dodgeball.
Those are some of the memories I’ll take from covering my first College World Series in Omaha. I just wished it was a longer stay.
It’s clear, though, that Florida was overwhelmed by the stage in its first CWS since 2005. Coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s team was composed of mostly freshmen and sophomores. It’s never a given, but they should be back next year. In three seasons, O’Sullivan has brought the program forward, from getting knocked out of the regionals, to getting knocked out of the Super Regionals to getting knocked out of the CWS.
“We’re disappointed, but we accomplished more than most teams did, to be one of eight teams to get to the College World Series,” O’Sullivan said. “And hopefully we’ll be fortunate enough to come back next year.”
In retrospect, though, Florida may have had too easy of a path to get here. In the regionals, Florida dispatched a No. 2 seed (Oregon State) that had to travel across the country. In the super regionals, Florida dispatched a Miami team that committed nine errors in two games.
Other CWS observations:
— O’Sullivan pushed most of the right buttons this season, but I still have a problem with him moving Matt den Dekker down in the lineup against lefties. I think den Dekker’s .432 on base percentage could have come in handy at the top of the lineup on Monday against FSU. Instead, O’Sullivan moved Josh Adams to the two-hole, and it backfired. Adams went 0-for-3 and reached base just once with a walk. Den Dekker reached base three times, once with a walk and twice after being hit by pitches.
— Alex Panteliodis and Hudson Randall are above-average pitchers, but Florida still lacks a true shut-down ace. Maybe that can be found in recruiting. Or maybe Brian Johnson can develop into that role. Johnson has a strong enough arm and pitched OK in relief Monday, allowing two runs with three strikeouts in 3.1 innings.