Florida beats SEC rival LSU to win its 1st NCAA baseball title

The Gators scored four runs in the eighth inning to defeat LSU 6-1 and complete a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals.

OMAHA, Neb. – Maybe this wasn’t Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s best team. But it is his first national-championship team.

The Gators scored four runs in the eighth inning to pull away from Louisiana State and beat their Southeastern Conference rival 6-1 Tuesday night to complete a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals for the 103-year-old baseball program’s first national title.

Florida (52-19) posted the eighth sweep in the 15 years of the best-of-three CWS finals format, and first since 2013. LSU (52-20) lost for the first time in seven appearances in games where a team could clinch an NCAA championship.

“Just a gritty group, that’s all I can say,” said O’Sullivan, the 10th-year coach who has brought the Gators to Omaha in six of the last eight years. “There are other teams that may be bigger and stronger — our starting pitching has carried us the whole year — but we got some timely hits.”

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Florida was in the CWS for the 11th time and previously had made it to the finals in 2005 and 2011, getting swept each time.

“They’re a very deserving national champion,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “I’m happy for Kevin. He works hard, and he has had several teams that maybe were even better than this team and sat up here as disappointed as I am right now. Finally got his championship.”

Freshman Tyler Dyson (4-0) limited the Tigers to three hits in six innings in his second start, and the Gators capitalized on LSU errors in the first and second innings to go up 2-0 against Jared Poche (12-4).

The Gators scored four times in the bottom of the eighth. LSU reliever Zack Hess hit a batter with the bases loaded, Deacon Liput hit a two-run single and JJ Schwarz had a sacrifice fly.

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