The University of Florida has won the College World Series, securing the first national title in baseball in the history of the school. It's rather surprising that this was the first title, given that Florida has won 13 SEC championships and appeared in 11 College World Series, but 2017 was the first time the Gators achieved the ultimate goal.
The final score was 6-1 (NCAA.com box score), as coach Kevin O'Sullivan saw his group accomplish what his 2011 Gators failed to do: come through in the CWS championship series.
Tuesday's clincher certainly had its fair share of tense moments. The Gators took an early 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of unearned runs.
In the bottom of the first, second baseman Deacon Liput led off and reached on an error. A pair of singles by shortstop Dalton Guthrie and first baseman JJ Schwarz would plate him for a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, center fielder Nick Horvath picked up a two-out single and then advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. He would then score on Liput's single and it was 2-0 through two.
It would turn out that's all the Gators would need, but they would hold onto that lead by the skin of their teeth.
In the top of the seventh, LSU got their leadoff man on when center fielder Zach Watson singled. He stole second and then scored on third baseman Josh Smith's double -- with an assist on an ill-advised dive attempt by Florida right fielder Ryan Larson. Jake Slaughter singled to give the Tigers a first and third situation with nobody out. Catcher Michael Papierski put the ball in play on a routine double-play ball. Still, the tying run would score ... or so it appeared for a split second.
Due to runner interference on Slaughter as he slid into the shortstop, Guthrie, on the turn, the run was taken off the board. The college rule states that the runner commits interference if he slides out of the baseline in the direction of the fielder and alters the play of the defender. Slaughter did so here.
The rule also states that any other runners have to return to their original base, so Smith had to go back to third and a run was taken off the board. DH Beau Jordan then crushed a liner with two outs to center, but Horvath made a sliding catch to end the threat.
The Tigers would threaten again in the top of the eighth only to come up empty again.
Shortstop Kramer Robertson led off with a single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Freeman went to sacrifice bunt but ended up beating the throw for an infield single. It was again first and third with no out.
Florida reliever Michael Byrne struck out left fielder Antoine Duplantis. Then cleanup man Greg Deichmann tapped a grounder to first and Schwarz cut down Robertson at home plate by a few inches.
And once again, a line drive wound up in center fielder Horvath's glove to end the threat.
Florida would then tack on four runs to provide some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth.
For the Gators, Tyler Dyson started the game and was very good. He worked six-plus innings, giving up one run on three hits. Jonathan India collected a pair of hits, including Florida's only extra-base hit (a double). Liput was 2 for 5 with a run and three RBI. Schwarz drove home two. Guthrie had a pair of hits. Horvath scored twice and drove home a big run by getting hit with a pitch to make it 3-1. In all, though, it was Florida's run prevention and some good fortune along the way that helped secure this title.
Florida joins Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA as the only schools to have won a national championship in baseball, football and basketball.
Ultimately, though, this is all about the 2017 Florida baseball team taking home the national title. They are college baseball's champions.