Florida and LSU met yet again for Game 2 of the College World Series final Tuesday, and Florida beat LSU, 6-1, to win their first NCAA baseball championship in program history.
LSU started flamethrower lefty Jared Poch on the hill, opposite the Gators’ Tyler Dyson. On the first batter he faced, Poch surrendered a hit on a quirky fielding error by first baseman Nick Coomes, then another to Dalton Guthrie, who looped a fine ball into right center. That then was followed by a JJ Schwarz drive into left, which plated Deacon Liput down from third.
So, with runners at first and second, big bat Nelson Maldonado bashed a fly ball into deep right, which Greg Deichmann fielded on a spectacular leaping catch, and that moved everyone forward one base. That was merely the first out of the inning, and Poch had already received a mound visit from his pitching coach. He managed to get himself out of the jam on a pop fly to shallow left, and to the second they went with Florida holding a 1-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the second, Coomes again experienced some throwing and catching ailments as he fumbled a toss from Poch, which advanced Ryan Larson over to second. He then reached home on a single by Nick Horvath, and suddenly the Gators were working their way back through the top of the order. It was by then 2-0 Florida’s advantage, but Poch forced a grounder to the shortstop with men on first and second to get himself out of the jam.
He was the kind of talent who could miss a season, come back unexpectedly for the postseason, and help his team win a World Series, after all.
So the fall is dramatic and terrifying. But I’m going to guess that the slump is extending this far because he’s not really sure how to reverse it mentally, more than the rest of the league discovering what his kryptonite is.