Duval Sports

Hicks leads Florida into College World Series Title Series

OMAHA, NEBRASKA-With their season on the line and the offense in a slump hitting a measly .200; much like they have done all season somebody else had to step up and make a play.

That somebody turned out to be junior designated hitter Christian Hicks, who broke out of a 1-for-6 slump himself in Omaha, by going 2-for-3 with a double and a triple leading to two of the three runs on the night.

Hicks heroics sends No. 3 Florida (50-19) into the Best of Three Championship Series against No. 4 LSU (52-18) starting tonight  following a 3-0 win over TCU Saturday night at TD Ameritrade Park.

Courtesy photo from UAA Communications. Christian Hicks slides into third base following a triple in the seventh inning. Hicks scored two batters later to give Florida a 3-0 lead over TCU.

Courtesy photo from UAA Communications. Christian Hicks slides into third base following a triple in the seventh inning. Hicks scored two batters later to give Florida a 3-0 lead over TCU.

Arriving in Omaha as one of eight teams competing in the College World Series, the No. 3 Gators (47-18) were one of the favorites to compete for the national title along with No. 1 Oregon State (54-4), No. 4 LSU (48-17), No. 6 TCU (47-16) and No. 7 Louisville (52-10). Joining those five were unseeded teams Florida State (45-21), Texas A&M (41-21) and Cal State Fullerton (39-22).

Behind pitchers Alex Faedo and Brady Singer, the Gators began the World Series 2-0 with wins over TCU (3-0) and Louisville (5-1) to move with in one win from advancing to the Championship Series.

After fighting out of the losers bracket, TCU stunned Florida 9-2 to force another game Saturday between the two teams with the winner moving on to the championship series.

Twice this postseason against Bethune Cookman in the Gainesville Regional and Wake Forest in the Super Regional in Gainesville, the Gators faced elimination but won both winner take all games to remain alive, they would need another similar result Saturday or be eliminated.

With Faedo on the mound, you knew it wouldn’t take much offense to get the win as evidence in the 3-0 win over TCU days earlier.

Courtesy Photo from UAA Communications. Christian Hicks went 2-for-3 to lead No. 3 Florida into the National Championship Series with a 3-0 win over TCU Saturday night.

Courtesy Photo from UAA Communications. Christian Hicks went 2-for-3 to lead No. 3 Florida into the National Championship Series with a 3-0 win over TCU Saturday night.

Ahead only 1-0 in the fifth inning, Hicks gave Faedo some cushion by doubling to left center in between the left and center fielders allowing Mike Rivera to score from first to increase the lead to 2-0.

Two innings later, Hicks came through again with a one out triple putting another potential run on the bags with no outs. Hicks sent a ball deep to left center and it rolled out of the glove of the left fielder and off the wall allowing Hicks to reach third.

One out later, when it looked like TCU might get out of the jam, Deacon Liput’s single which ricocheted off first base allowed Hicks to score increasing the lead to 3-0.

Hicks, who is batting .288 with 11 doubles, 4 home runs and 27 RBIs and has played in 56 of the 62 games, was struggling in Omaha heading into Saturdays game 1-for-6 in the series. Hicks went 1-for-2 with a RBI in the opening game 3-0 win over TCU as the designated hitter, 0-for-3 against Louisville in a 5-1 win as the DH and 0-for-1 in 9-2 loss to TCU in Game 3 at first base.

Before arriving in Gainesville, Hicks was a infielder and right-handed pitcher from Bolles for head coach Mike Boswell. As a senior he batted .386 with a .544 slugging percentage and a .494 on-base percentage and led the district in home runs, while going 6-2 with a 2.40 earned run average, with 36 strikeouts and seven walks on the mound.

Hicks isn’t the only local player on the Gators roster as Keenan Bell a freshman from Episcopal and Stanton has also seen some action this season hitting .283 with 12 RBI with 4 doubles and 2 home runs.

Tune into ESPN tonight for the first game of the Championship Series and see if Hicks and Bell can lead Florida to its first national title in baseball.

Omaha 3

TD Ameritrade Park is home to the College World Series every year and the site of this years Championship Series between Florida and LSU.

Bracket A

LSU (4-1) *

Oregon State (2-2) X

Florida State (1-2) X

Fullerton (0-2) X

 

Bracket B

Florida (3-1) *

TCU (2-2) X

Louisville (1-2) X

Texas A&M (0-2) X

 

2017 College World Series

Saturday, June 17 

Game 1: Oregon State 6, Fullerton 5

Game 2: LSU 5, FSU 4

Sunday, June 18 

Game 3: Louisville 8, Texas A&M 4

Game 4: Florida 3, TCU 0

Monday, June 19

Game 5:  FSU 6, Fullerton 4 (Eliminated)

Game 6: Oregon State 13, LSU 1

Tuesday, June 20

Game 7: TCU 4, Texas A&M 1 (Eliminated)

Game 8: Florida 5, Louisville 1

Wednesday, June 21

Game 9: LSU 7, FSU 4 (Eliminated)

Thursday, June 22

Game 10: TCU 4, Louisville 3 (Eliminated)

Friday, June 23

Game 11: LSU 3, Oregon State 1

Game 12: TCU 9, Florida 2

Saturday, June 24

Game 13: LSU 6, Oregon State 1 (Eliminated)

Game 14: Florida 3, TCU 0 (Eliminated)

Championship Series

Monday: Florida vs LSU, 7 (ESPN)

Tuesday: Florida vs LSU, 8 (ESPN)

Wednesday: If necessary, 8 (ESPN)