College World Series: Seminoles Hold Off Gator Rally, Bruins Win Behind Cole

UCLA's Gerrit Cole. Image via: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

UCLA's Gerrit Cole. Image via: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

The Florida State Seminoles used three home runs to jump on top of the rival Florida Gators in the College World Series yesterday, but were forced to withstand a late rally before winning 8-5.

Mike McGee struck the big blow on offense with a three-run home run in the third inning. Stephen Cardullo and Tyler Holt also hit home runs for the Seminoles.

But the Gators nearly made Florida State pay for leaving 11 runners on base when they staged a rally in the ninth. Preston Tucker ripped a bases-loaded double down the left field line to make it 8-5 and forcing the Seminoles to bring in McGee to try and close it out.

But McGee wasn’t quite as fortunate on the mound as he was with the bat and allowed a single and hit a batter to load the bases up again and bring Mike Zunino to the plate as the leading run. Zunino ripped a ball to Cardullo that, for a fraction of a second, looked like it might get into the gap. But Cardullo caught it, and doubled the runner off second, ending the fifth-ranked Gators’ season.

Just like that, the fifth-ranked Gators saw their season come to a close. Although starter Hudson Randall was squeezed by an unforgiving strike zone – at one point manager, Kevin O’Sullivan walked out to the mound and shouted “That strike zone is too small!” – to the home plate umpire, he allowed four runs and failed to get out of the third inning in a must-win game.

In the nightcap, UCLA’s Gerrit Cole struck out 13 hitters and allowed only one hit in his first seven innings in leading the seventh-ranked Bruins to a 6-3 victory over Texas Christian.

Cole, the New York Yankees first-round pick in 2009, set the tone for the game early, striking out the side in the first inning. All three batters went down swinging.

Backed to a 5-0 lead by home runs from Cody Regis and Jeff Gelalich, Cole ran into trouble in the eighth. After three singles, Taylor Featherston rocketed a triple to centerfield, making it 5-3 and giving Aaron Schultz a chance to tie the game. But Cole struck him out and Dan Klein closed it out in the ninth.

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