Presenting retiring athletic director Jeremy Foley with a nice going-away gift, Florida baseball saved the SEC a bit of embarrassment on Monday night.
The Gators blanked arch-rival Florida State 7-0 at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville to clinch a spot in the upcoming College World Series at Omaha.
By virtue of the victory, Florida will be the only SEC team in this year’s College World Series.
The only SEC team?
That’s right. For the first time since 2006, when Georgia packed its bags for Nebraska, college baseball’s most powerful conference will have but one representative among the final eight vying for the sport’s biggest prize.
Had Florida lost Monday night, it would have been the first time since 1992 the conference would have been shut out of the CWS.
To put it bluntly, the mighty conference took a beating over the weekend. Coastal Carolina swept LSU in Baton Rouge. Oklahoma State swept South Carolina in Columbia. Arizona swept Mississippi State (and new UK head coach Nick Mingione) in Starkville. TCU beat Texas A&M in College Station. So much for the home-field advantage.
And the SEC had four of the eight national seeds heading into the tournament. Florida was the No. 1 seed. Texas A&M was No. 4. Mississippi State was No. 6. LSU was No. 8.
This is Florida’s fifth CWS appearance in the last nine years under coach Kevin O’Sullivan. The Gators join UC-Santa Barbara, Coastal Carolina, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Arizona, TCU and Miami in Omaha.
College World Series teams from SEC
- 2015-Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Vanderbilt
- 2014-Ole Miss, Vanderbilt
- 2013-LSU, Mississippi State
- 2012-Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina
- 2011-Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
- 2010-Florida, South Carolina
- 2009-Arkansas, LSU
- 2008-Georgia, LSU
- 2007-Mississippi State
- 2005-Tennessee, Florida
- 2004-Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina
- 2003-LSU, South Carolina
- 2002-South Carolina
- 2001-Georgia, Tennessee
- 1998-Florida, LSU, Mississippi State
- 1997-Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State
- 1996-Alabama, Florida, LSU
- 1994-LSU, Auburn