SEC National Seed Contenders AwaitFeatures
HOOVER, Ala. — Florida dug deep into its bag of premium arms, past all the Shores and Puks and Faedos and found some moss. Actually, they found Scott Moss. A 6-foot-5, 220-pound southpaw with a mid-90s fastball and biting slider. And believe me, that was quite a find.
Even though Moss had pitched just 16 innings all season, he went six innings of three-hit, shutout ball as Florida beat LSU 1-0 Saturday. The Deland, Fla., native struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
The Gators victory sets up a championship matchup against fellow losers’ bracket member Texas A&M, who defeated Ole Miss 12-8 earlier in the day.
Florida avenged the 14-inning loss to LSU earlier in the week – and even though the teams split two games and only lost a single game, the Gators won the one that matters the most and advances to the finals as a result.
“We have played LSU five times in a week and a half,” said Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan. “The games have been exciting and really good. I’m really impressed with LSU. They have gotten so much better over the course of the year. Their offense is really clicking now. Coming into today, they have won 14 of their last 15 games.”
“After five of these with these guys, I feel like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier going 15 rounds, I’d rather play somebody new to be honest with you,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We’ve had five great games with Florida and we were able to win three of them.”
Now that the resumes are complete for LSU and Ole Miss, now they wait to hear from the NCAA Selection Committee to see if they will be national seeds. Both are locks to host regionals, but these two are hopeful that the Hoover run helped boost their stock.
The national seed picture has six teams with solid cases. Miami and Louisville from the ACC, Texas A&M, Florida, and Mississippi State from the SEC, and Big 12 champ Texas Tech appear to be in great shape. The last two spots are likely down to LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Clemson, and Florida State.
“It is an interesting question,” said O’Sullivan. “I think the SEC is really top heavy this year. I don’t know how the committee is going to do it. They have a really tough decision to make. There are a lot of teams deserving of a national seed in our league. Historically, one league doesn’t get five national seeds. It might be different this year. I don’t know if I have seen pitching this deep and this many arms. We’re playing the fourth game and LSU is running out a freshman that is throwing 90-94 today, who is locating. This is my ninth year, and I can honestly say this is the best it has been for the top eight or nine teams. It’s been very competitive.”
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