University of Florida

Gators forced to regroup after Sunday upset at College World Series

Coastal Carolina shortstop Michael Paez throws to first after forcing out Florida’s Jonathan India to complete a double play during the second inning of Sunday’s game.
Coastal Carolina shortstop Michael Paez throws to first after forcing out Florida’s Jonathan India to complete a double play during the second inning of Sunday’s game. AP

The look on Florida baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s face during his postgame press conference Sunday night told the story.

The Gators were the latest top national seed to be upset and dropped into the elimination bracket of the College World Series after losing 2-1 to Coastal Carolina.

Considered one of the best teams Florida has ever assembled, being forced into the loser’s bracket after its opening game wasn’t what was expected.

“There’s a lot of people disappointed,” O’Sullivan said, his face sullen.

“I’m disappointed, to be honest. I think this is a really good team. We just ran across a guy who was really good. We’ll bounce back ... We have no choice.”

For Florida to have a chance to win its first national championship in the sport, the Gators will have to beat Texas Tech on Tuesday at 5 p.m. (ESPN2) and then keep going.

The Gators, named the top national seed when the college baseball tournament started, have now dropped the first game of three of their four postseason tournaments this season.

Florida opened the SEC tournament with a loss and also lost its super regional opener to Florida State.

The Gators (52-14) ended up losing their final game in Birmingham but rallied to shutout the Seminoles in the final two games to reach Omaha.

To make it to the CWS best-of-3 finals which start Monday, Florida will have to win four consecutive games. A loss brings a flight back to Gainesville.

“We’ve just got to learn from this, move on,” said Jeremy Vasquez, who singled in Florida’s lone run as a pinch-hitter on Sunday.

For Coastal Carolina, located near Myrtle Beach, S.C., the CWS is the biggest stage it has ever been on.

The Chanticleers (50-16) are in Omaha for the first time and moved into Game 2 -- they’ll face TCU Tuesday night -- thanks to a huge upset.

Coastal Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the third when a ball hit down the right field line from Zach Remillard was ruled a double after a lengthy review.

First base umpire Jeff Doy originally called it foul yet after the review, Remillard was put on second and Anthony Marks came home from third to snap Florida’s scoreless streak at 24 2/3 innings.

Florida tied the score in the fifth on a single from Vasquez but Coastal Carolina retook the lead in the sixth on a triple from Remillard that chased Florida ace Logan Shore (12-1) from the game.

On the other side, Coastal Carolina starter Andrew Beckwith (13-1) kept Florida off its game throughout.

Beckwith pitched a complete game, allowing one run off seven hits and striking out seven.

Florida watched its final 10 batters go down as the Gators struggled to get anything going.

“It feels awesome,” Beckwith said. “We got to Omaha, but our job isn’t done. We have a game Tuesday, and that’s the one we’re looking forward to.”

The Chanticleers knocked out SEC power LSU -- in Baton Rouge -- to reach Omaha for the first time in school history.

Coastal Carolina is also the first team from the Big South Conference to make the CWS.

“It’s a great feeling and shows we’re here for real,” said shortstop Michael Paez, a junior from Miami Sunset who had a triple and snuffed out a Florida rally in the first with a defensive gem.

“We’re not just one of those teams happy to be here, go 0-2. We came here ready to play. We don’t care who is in the other dugout. We’re enjoying the moment. Not a lot of teams get here so we’re taking it all in. There’s no tension on this team.”

Florida will start No. 2 starter Alex Faedo, a sophomore from Tampa who is 13-2 but took the loss in the super regional opener to the Seminoles.

“He’s been great for us all year long,” O’Sullivan said of Faedo. “I feel great with him on the mound. And I feel very confident but we’re going to have to obviously swing the bats a little bit better.”