Omaha, Neb. ~Ty Floyd shone on Saturday night after being eclipsed all season as the best pitcher in college baseball. Won. LSU beat Florida 4-3 in Game 1 of the WCWS Finals after Floyd hit a career-high 17 for the most in a College World Series game in 51 years and Cade Beloso hit the home run decisive in the 11th round. “We’re not sitting here without Ty Floyd,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said. “He’s one of the most underrated players in college baseball this year.” A win over the Gators (53-16) on Sunday would give the Tigers their eighth national title and first since 2009. Floyd started the season in the bullpen before becoming the No. 2 starter behind Paul Skenes, the first college pitcher in 12 years with 200 strikeouts and is expected to be drafted first or second in next month’s amateur draft. “With Paul being so good out of this world, nobody really paid attention to him, but the pros are,” Johnson said of Floyd. “He won’t last on the draft committee. Ty Floyd will delight anyone. He will pitch for a long time.
The junior right-hander knocked out Florida’s best in the eighth. Wyatt Langford and Jac Caglianone are among them. After defeating Caglianone, Floyd came back to collect the ball. After Floyd struck out 17, LSU reliever Riley Cooper (5-3) took over in the ninth inning. “With as many people as there were here tonight, the adrenaline was good,” Floyd added. “I knew throwing my fastball high in the zone, being able to mix enough off-speed pitches to get them out was the most important thing tonight.” Beloso’s outburst followed LSU left fielder Josh Pearson’s soaring catch to prevent Florida from scoring the game-winning run in the 10th. Beloso’s three-run homer in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Wake Forest kept the Tigers’ season alive, and he faced closer Florida’s Brandon Neely (3-2) to lead the 11th .
Beloso hit Neely’s second pitch over the right field fence, raised his left index finger skyward as he neared the third, then stuck his tongue out at home plate. He then punched Floyd in the chest, beat his chest, and pulled on his jersey. “Previous at bat, he hit me on three straight heats and I thought he’d come back to it,” Beloso said. “Nothing would change. I swung well the one I was supposed to do. Cooper threw a 1-2-3 11th, knocking out BT Riopelle and Deric Fabian, and LSU fans, including Cincinnati Bengals quarterback and 2019 LSU National Champion Joe Burrow, celebrated. On the 10th, Langford hit a high left line, but Pearson made a leaping catch. Jac Caglianone, co-national home run leader, came out to close the inning. Tommy White, who took the Tigers to the Finals with his 11th-inning homer against Wake Forest on Thursday, tied it in the eighth by smashing Cade Fisher’s 0-2 slider into the left-field seats for his 24th HR of the season. A tied eighth MCWS record in one run. Despite 16 strikeouts and 17 runners on base against Brandon Sproat, Fisher and Neely, LSU won. “Baseball is a tough game, and when the runners get along, that’s when the pitchers make their best pitches,” Beloso said. No one panicked about not finishing the job. We continue to play knowing that we will succeed.