Waldrep shuts down #Gamecocks 4-0, Florida advances to CWS (AUDIO)

Jack Mahoney and two others scattered six hits, but it wasn’t good enough (Gamecock Athletics)

Gainesville, FL: Florida pitcher Hurston Waldrep was too good for South Carolina hitters Saturday night in game two of the Super Regional in Gainesville, and as a result it will be the Gators going back to Omaha for the CWS and not the Gamecocks. A record crowd of 8851 waited out a rain delay of 2:36, and for the Gator fans, it was well worth the wait.

Waldrep (9-3) allowed just three hits and struck out 13 before coming out in the bottom of the ninth after a leadoff infield single by Braylon Wimmer. Closer Brandon Neely came on and retired three in row to clinch the regional victory and lead to a Gator dogpile.

Waldrep threw 117 pitches, 76 for strikes, and was not the same guy the Gamecocks roughed up for five runs over six innings in Columbia back in April when they swept the Gators. This time he threw 60-65% off-speed stuff, and the Gamecock hitters flailed away with only six balls reaching the outfield, two on hits and four on fly ball outs.

The Gators got all the runs they would need off USC starter Jack Mahoney in the top of the second on a two-out double down the right field line by Colby Halter. Josh Rivera, who had three of the Gators’ six hits in the game, drove in the third run in the fifth with an RBI single to left. The Gators closed out the scoring in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Halter.

The Gamecocks got a runner as far as second base just once. That was in the fourth when Florida centerfielder Wyatt Langford misplayed a fly ball from Ethan Petry for his first error of the season. Petry was able to make second on the play and with one out, the Gamecocks were hoping to get on the scoreboard against Waldrep. But Cole Messina grounded out to third and Talmadge LeCroy to short to end the inning.

The Gamecocks did get runners on in the fifth, sixth and ninth innings but weren’t able to generate anything as they went 0-14 with runners on the bags.

Mahoney (7-4) pitched into the fifth inning in his final appearance for the Gamecocks. He allowed three runs on four hits, struck out four but walked four. Chris Veach and Eli Jones followed, and they combined to allow two hits and one run while striking out six and walking three. Of the seven batters walked by the Gamecocks, three came around to score.

The Gamecocks finished their season at 42-21, their most wins since 2016 and a 15-win improvement over 2022. They reached the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five full seasons under Mark Kingston and reached a Super Regional for a second time.

Florida advances to the CWS with a 50-15 record and will be seeing their second national championship. They won it all in 2017.

Box Score

Mark Kingston, Jack Mahoney, Ethan Petry

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