The Florida Gators are heading back to the College World Series, but it certainly wasn't easy in a 9-8 10-inning victory over the N.C. State Wolfpack. What was expected to be a pitchers' duel began that way before giving way to a two-plus hour rain delay and then plenty of offensive fireworks.
For the first two-and-one-half innings, neither Florida's Hudson Randall nor N.C. State's Carlos Rodon allowed a hit. Then came the rain to cause a delay to the start of the third inning. When played resumed at 2:00 p.m. MT, N.C. State wasted no time putting a run on the board against Randall, who stayed in to resume the game. Doubles by Brett Austin and Matt Bergquist plated the first run of the game.
Rodon did not return to the game, giving way to Anthony Tzamtzis. Florida struck for four runs on a Preston Tucker home run, a Casey Turgeon single, a Justin Shafer sacrifice fly and a Vickash Ramjit single. However, that lead was cut to 4-3 after Randall allowed a two-run double by Austin in the bottom of the frame. Chris Diaz tied the game with a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
From the bottom of the seventh inning to the bottom of the ninth inning, N.C. State and Florida exchanged runs to keep tying the game. In the top of the 10th, Florida broke through for a two-run lead on a Daniel Pigott home run and a Josh Tobias RBI single. The Wolfpack threatened in the bottom of the 10th after a leadoff walk and a hit-by-pitch but two men on base. A sacrifice bunt by Grant Clyde put both runners in scoring position. A Trea Turner brought the game to a one-run differential, but Kennan Kish got Diaz to strike out looking to end the game.
The Gators are making their eighth trip to Omaha and their third straight. They join the Arizona Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins as the teams locked into spots so far.