Finnvold provides relief, Gators-Sooners III on tap Monday afternoon in the Gainesville area

Finnvold provides relief, Gators-Sooners III on tap Monday afternoon in the Gainesville area

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Left-handed freshman Carsten Finnvold did not start Sunday’s must-watch game against Oklahoma in the Gainesville Regional.

But he certainly finished it.

Finnvold replaced the struggling starter Timmy Manning with bases loaded and no outs late in the first inning. He worked out of the jam by striking three straight Sooners, then kicked the Gators to a 7-2 win and a berth in Monday afternoon’s (1 p.m.) regional championship win-win game at Condron Ballpark.

“Any adjective I use won’t do him justice,” the Gators head coach said. Kevin O’Sullivan said. “By rushing him to the bullpen in the first inning, I was just hoping he could limit the damage.”

A seldom used and almost forgotten pitcher during the regular season, Finnvold pitched the game of his life Sunday night with the Gators’ season on the line. He struck out the first 16 batters he faced and went the distance, giving up five hits and two runs in nine innings.

Finnvold’s 116-shot escape lifted the Gators at a time when they found themselves with few options after a 6-5 victory over Central Michigan on Sunday afternoon.

outfielder Ju Fabian hit a pair of home runs, including a fourth-inning solo homer for the first run against Sooners starter Cade Holton. The Gators added another run in the fifth, and after Oklahoma scored two runs late in the sixth, Florida regained the lead on BT Riopelle Single RBI in the seventh.

Fabian again homered to lead the eighth, unleashing a four-run outburst that froze the game for Finnvold on his sensational outing.

The Gators have won 19 of their last 25 games and need one more to clinch a spot in the Super Regional.

NOTABLES

  • Finnvold pitched nine innings of relief, allowing just two earned runs on five hits without a batter. He took out four.
    • Finnvold came in with the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning and proceeded to strike out the first 16 batters he faced.
    • Finnvold is the first Gator pitcher to pitch nine innings since Jack Leftwich accomplished the feat on May 17, 2019 in Missouri.
  • J. Fabian hit a solo homer in the fourth to open the scoring, extending his career home run record to 23 longs.
    • Florida’s 120 homers this season rank second all-time in program history.
    • Fabian then hit his 24th homer in the eighth, putting him in sole possession of third on Florida’s single-season homer roster.
      • It marked Fabian’s 10th career multi-home game and his fourth this season.
  • Thompson (3 for 4) had three hits in tonight’s game and now has multiple hits in all four games in the Gainesville Regional.
    • Thompson is 10 for 14 in the Gainesville area.
  • Florida is now 1-1 all-time against Oklahoma
  • Florida is 119-81 in NCAA Tournament games.
    • The Gators are playing their 14th straight regional under O’Sullivan.
      • 2022 marks Florida’s 37th NCAA appearance and 18th time.
  • Florida has won 17 of its last 22 games and 19 of its last 25.

FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN
On by Carsten Finnvold performance…
“I haven’t really had a chance to digest it all. Any adjective I use to describe his exit won’t do him justice. He had to go in first, bases loaded, no one goes out. He had to rush down to the bullpen and he comes out. I was just hoping to limit the damage, and next thing you know, he goes nine. He gives up two runs. I really don’t know what to say at this point that d “Other than, I’m really happy for him. The season didn’t go the way he probably would have liked, but he gave us a big effort against Tennessee. He’s an extremely hard worker. He’s tough… I think he deserves all the accolades for this performance.”

On what changed for Finnvold…
“I wish I could tell you a good story, but there’s really no story I can tell you other than, probably, the hardest thing about my job is putting together this 27-man travel roster. . I hate it. You have to post it, and someone has to stay home. It’s heartbreaking sometimes because you leave the home of good kids who deserve to be with their teammates. And as I have said, it’s one of those stories and situations that we’re going to talk about for years…he deserved it all.”

Carsten being called into the playoffs…
“I talked about it the other day too. Jonathan Crawford got kicked off the roster when we went to a World Series. The next year he pitched a no-hitter in the area. He’s the number one pitcher of the United States team. And two years later he ended up being a first-round pick and he wasn’t traveling. These stories happen to hard-working people. Jonathan earned his chance to be a first-round pick and stayed the course. The same can be said for Carsten.”

NEXT

Florida takes on Oklahoma again Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. with a trip to the Super Regionals on the line.

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