Under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, the Florida Gators baseball team is hotter than Swedish trucker Angelica Larsson. After taking over in 2008, UF reached 12-straight NCAA Tournaments and was college baseball’s No. 1-ranked team when the 2020 season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
UF baseball earned seven College World Series berths in that run, including sweeping SEC rival LSU to win the 2017 national championship. Of all the great moments last decade, Austin Langworthy’s walk-off home run in the 2018 Super Regional ranks among the very best.
2018 Florida Gators Baseball
Coming off a national title, UF had a target on its back all season. Led by 2018 SEC Player of the Year Jonathan India (.350 average 21 home runs, 52 RBIs), the Gators faced each team’s best every weekend. Florida stumbled down the stretch, losing four-in-a-row to close the season, but hung on to capture a second-straight SEC regular season championship.
As the top seed of the SEC Tournament, Florida lost two of three games and were bounced from the bracket.
Florida hosted Columbia, FAU and Jacksonville in the Gainesville Regional to begin the NCAA Tournament. The Gators lost to FAU at one point, but survived to take on the Auburn Tigers in the Super Regional’s best-of-three series.
UF tagged Auburn’s Casey Mize ? the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft ? for six earned runs in Game One, winning 8-2. The Tigers rebounded the following day thanks to Luke Jarvis’ game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
With the series tied, Game Three became an all-time classic.
2018 Gainesville Super Regional: Game Three
This game had everything. In the fourth inning, UF’s Nick Horvath stole home plate to take a 2-1 lead. There were diving catches and clutch pitching performances by starter Jack Leftwich, Tommy Mace and Michael Byrne.
When the game reached the bottom of the 11th inning, left fielder Austin Langworthy etched his name in history.
On a 1-2 count, Langworthy turned on a fastball from Auburn’s Cody Greenhill. The line drive sailed towards outfielder Steven Williams, but as he reached up, the ball bounced off his glove and over the wall.
Langworthy was mobbed at home as the University of Florida advanced to Omaha, Nebraska, and its fourth-straight College World Series.
Austin Langworthy’s Walk-Off Home Run
The night before, Langworthy hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning that kept Florida baseball alive before losing Game Two. His only two home runs the entire 2018 season came when they mattered most.
Talk about timing.
The Gators battled back from an opening-game loss to Texas Tech to reach the CWS semifinals, but ran out of gas and were ultimately eliminated by Arkansas.
The 2018 season didn’t end with back-to-back national titles like many in Gainesville hoped, but there were enough moments during this run to last a lifetime.