The Florida Gators baseball team will rally off the strength of their dominant pitching to win the 2012 College World Series.
In a tournament situation like the Gators are in, pitching and defense become absolutely integral.
It's a grueling road to get to the championship series, so the less wear and tear is put on a team, the better. Starting pitching can single-handedly help you keep innings short and keep bats hot.
But it can also strand a team in the field and force them to chase line drives up the gap all day.
If the opposition can be shut down, it takes a ton of pressure of a team. That's how you can go far in the College World Series.
Good pitching will help a team do just that, and that's where the Gators have a huge advantage in this tournament.
Here's a good breakdown of their pitching via Amy Farnum of NCAA.com in her 2012 CWS preview:
Pitching is key for the Gators as they boast a 2.90 ERA, and are giving up just 2.03 walks per nine innings, which ranks second in the nation. Florida also leads Division I with a 3.7 strikeout to walk ratio. Hudson Randall (9-2, 2.61 ERA) is the Gators’ top starter, while Brian Johnson has compiled an 8-4 mark and 3.56 ERA.
Consider that, if the Gators staff keeps up their incredible ERA, all their offense has to do is score three runs to win a game.
That's almost too easy, but that's exactly why the Gators are seeded No. 1 coming into the tournament.
Their biggest task is going to come against the South Carolina Gamecocks—the two-time defending champions, whose last title came courtesy of a sweep of the Gators in the championship series—but I have to believe Florida is ready for the challenge.
The Gamecocks have a team average of .271, but that's bound to go down after facing the Gators. They also have a ERA of 3.06, so by the numbers it would appear as if Florida has an advantage.
Even aside from that matchup, give me the team with the better pitchers to take this tournament, and that team is the Gators.
The No. 1 seeded Gators are set up perfectly for a huge run.
Frankly, they're set up to win the whole thing.
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