Jackson Kowar dominates the mound in Florida victory

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Kenneth Pancake
Sports Editor

The Texas Longhorns were the second team to be sent home packing from the College World Series, joining the Washington Huskies.

Facing the defending national champions, the Longhorns lost their second game of the tournament by a score of 6-1.

Texas left with a bit of disappointment, but a lot to build from. “There’s nobody in this country that expected us to be here,” said Coach Pierce. “This group is well-deserving because of the grit, the selfless attitudes… and just doing it the right way, day in and day out.” Texas was considered by many in the early season to be going through a rebuilding year.

Florida’s Head Coach, Kevin O’Sullivan, had a straight face – but was impressed nonetheless. “We’re excited about moving on, and we’re excited to play on Thursday.”

The Gators’ dominant performance was due to its superior pitching. Jackson Kowar, a junior, threw a career-best 13 strikeouts before heading into the dugout. He was met with thunderous applause from the fans in Florida blue, allowing only 5 hits and 2 walks in his 6 innings on the mound.

“When (Kowar) can mix stuff with command, that’s when you’re a first rounder,” Texas Head Coach David Pierce said.

“He had a really good changeup,” Texas star Kody Clemens said. “He just went out there and executed his pitches… he didn’t make many mistakes.”

Kowar was the first pitcher since 2010 with 13 strikeouts in one CWS game.

Florida’s first run (and the only run in the game for quite some time) took place in the 1st inning. Descon Liput took a base on balls. Nelson Maldonado followed with a shot down the middle; Liput advanced to third. Jonathan India then hit an RBI single to left field, bringing Liput home.

The game remained scoreless until the top of the 6th inning. With Blake Reese on 2nd and Liput on 1st, Maldonado hit a single to center, bringing Reese home. Immediately thereafter, Jonathan India hit his 21st home run of the season to drive in Liput, Maldonado and himself to bring the score to 5-0.

“I got the pitch I wanted, and I took a swing at it,” India said.

Florida would hit one more home run in the top of the 8th inning (courtesy of Nick Horvath) before the game came to a close. Texas would score one run during the bottom side.

Rain would make a brief appearance in the game, as it has on several occasions already during this CWS. During the top of the 7th inning, a brief and heavy drizzle fell onto the field. Play continued, and the rain subsided.

Florida will continue through the loser’s bracket: their next opponent will be the loser of the Arkansas/Texas Tech matchup. The latter has been rescheduled for 11 AM Wednesday morning, amid concerns of heavy storms throughout the metro area.