By Wednesday evening, if not earlier, the Colorado Rockies could have a 2011 draft pick who is also a 2011 College World Series winner. Drafted in the 16th round, Preston Tucker plays first base and the outfield for the Florida Gators, who are just two victories away from their first College World Series victory. But so are the South Carolina Gamecocks, last year's defending champions.
The best-of-three championship series kicks off in TD Ameritrade Park at 6 p.m. MT on ESPN this Monday night. Florida is making its second championship appearance, having lost to the Texas Longhorns in 2005 (but beat in the CWS this year). Preston Tucker has hit .313/.385/.558 with 23 doubles, 15 home runs and 74 RBI up to this point. He drove in the go-ahead run against Vanderbilt to reach the championship series. Tucker will be joined by catcher Mike Zunino (18 HR) and OF Daniel Pigott (15 SB) in pacing the offense.
Florida will start Hudson Randall, who has gone 11-3 with a 2.24 ERA, two complete games and one shutout this season. South Carolina, meanwhile, has freshman RHP Forrest Koumas ready to go, last pitching on June 5. He is 6-1 with a 3.07 ERA in 18 appearances (11 starts). Florida's own freshman, Karsten Whitson, will pitch Tuesday.
South Carolina may be without its top hitter, Christian Walker, who injured his wrist in Friday's 13-inning win over the Virginia Cavaliers.
Here is the complete championship schedule:
Championship Game 1: Florida vs. South Carolina, 6 p.m. MT, Monday, June 27, ESPN/ESPN3.com
Championship Game 2: Florida vs. South Carolina, 6 p.m. MT, Tuesday, June 28, ESPN/ESPN3.com
Championship Game 3: Florida vs. South Carolina, 6 p.m. MT, Wednesday, June 29, ESPN/ESPN3.com - if necessary