The Florida Gators got exactly what they needed out of ace Alex Faedo on Sunday. Faedo was lights out against TCU, striking out 11 in seven innings of shutout baseball for a 3-0 victory. Michael Byrne cleaned up the victory with two innings of scoreless action to notch the first shutout so far of the CWS. However, the Gators’ star rotation will have their work cut out for them against the Louisville Cardinals. Louisville has two hitters that are OPSing over 1.1 and will make Florida pay for any mistake.
This game will take place at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. It will be broadcast on ESPN.
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Louisville is almost certainly going to have Kade McClure come to the mound. McClure had been the usual Game 1 starter in series this season, but was bumped in favor of superstar Brendan McKay.
McClure was solid in his last start. He allowed just three hits in 5 1/3 innings against Kentucky and is good at getting batters to swing and miss. He has over 100 strikeouts on the season.
Prior to that Kentucky win though, he had been shaky in his last two starts. He allowed a combined 10 runs in 10.1 innings of work against Radford and Florida State in two of his worst outings of the year.
It looks like Jackson Kowar is going to get the start for Florida if history is any indication. Brady Singer is the other potential starter but has used more in the long relief role against Wake Forest in the Super Regional and it’s hard to knock Kowar’s record.
Kowar has not had a loss hung on him yet in 17 starts this season. He is 12-0 to this point, but has been incredibly lucky. He has a 4.00 ERA on the season and has allowed multiple runs in every start he has made since April 2.
He allows a ton of contact and walks a lot of batters too. In 101.1 innings of action, Kowar has allowed 109 hits and surrendered 42 walks. That’s an absurd amount of base runners and with a 1.50 WHIP, it’s only a matter of time before he gets punished for it, especially on this stage.
Hitters to Watch
McKay is Louisville’s second-best hitter this season. He only went 1-5 at the plate against the Aggies, but he typically hits worse when he is pitching.
On the season, there is no denying his bat. He hit 17 home runs and posted an OPS of 1.106. He has a great eye too, with more walks than strikeouts and will be a tough out for Florida pitchers.
The Cardinals’ best hitter is Drew Ellis. Ellis has been unstoppable this season. He has a slugging percentage of .723 thanks to 39 extra-base hits and has an OBP of 1.181. Incredibly, he has yet to ground into a double play this season as well.
Florida may be in a precarious situation. Its best offensive weapon, Nelson Maldonado, rolled an ankle in the win over TCU and didn’t look the same after it happened. He was eventually pulled and in visible pain in the dugout. The coaching staff insists he will be ready to play Tuesday, but some skepticism may be in order.
He was 2-3 in the game before he rolled the ankle and is the best hitter Florida has. He has a keen eye, drawing 49 walks on the season, and any drop of production from him would be a big loss.
College World Series ATS Pick
Everything is lining up for Louisville here. Kowar is more than due for a crash and burn game and the Cardinals have the hitters to make it happen. Not having Maldonado at 100 percent is going to be a huge loss for the Gators too,
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