Texas saw its season end Tuesday at the College World Series because of Florida’s deep collection of first-round draft picks.
The Big 12 champions ran into a buzzsaw on a steamy afternoon in a 6-1 loss to the defending national champions.
The Longhorns were handcuffed by towering 6-foot-6 Jackson Kowar, the No. 33 overall draft pick of the Kansas City Royals, who blanked them over 6⅓ innings.
Kowar’s stuff was electric on Tuesday as he reached 98 mph at times. He whiffed a career-high 13, walking 2 and scattering 5 hits in a career-high 121-pitch effort.
It was the most strikeouts in a College World Series game since the tournament moved to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011.
His strong effort was supplemented by a 3-run homer by Jonathan India in the sixth inning. India, the No. 1 draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds (fifth overall), was the SEC’s Player of the Year.
The loss ends the season for Texas (42-23), which made history with its 36th trip to the College World Series. It marked just the fifth time in school history the Longhorns lost their first two games in the double-elimination tournament.
Florida (48-20) picked up its first win of this CWS after losing its opener to Texas Tech on Sunday night. The Gators advance to another elimination game Thursday night against the loser of the Arkansas-Texas Tech contest being played Wednesday at noon ET.
Texas started Blair Henley, who struggled all day
Texas coach David Pierce elected to start Blair Henley. His choice was made because he prefers No. 2 starter Chase Shugart out of the bullpen.
Henley was in trouble all day. The first three Florida hitters reached base to start the game, with India providing an RBI single to open the scoring. But Henley coaxed a double play from Wil Dalton and a flyout from JJ Schwarz to escape more damage.
Florida also loaded the bases with none out in the second, but Henley got three straight outs to keep the Gators from scoring in this frame.
Shugart later saw action in the game. He was ripped for 5 runs and 6 hits in 4⅓ innings.
The Gators iced the victory with 4 runs in the sixth inning.
Nelson Maldonado provided a two-out single in the sixth to push Florida’s lead to 2-0. It was followed by India’s 3-run homer to ice the game.
It was the 21st homer of the season for India. The blast to deep left-center field was measured at 407 feet by ESPN.
Nick Horvath added a homer in the eighth inning to help punctuate the Gators’ 10-hit attack against four Texas pitchers.
Texas added its only run in the eighth on a run-scoring single by DJ Petrinsky after 2 walks to start the inning. But it was too little too late as Florida closer Michael Byrne shut the door to finish the victory.