Gabe Holt hit a tiebreaking single in the fifth inning and drove in an insurance run in the ninth, leading Texas Tech to a stunning 6-3 win over defending national champion Florida in the College World Series on Sunday night.
The Red Raiders (45-18) won their CWS opener for the first time in their three appearances, and they did it against the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and a first-round draft pick in starting pitcher Brady Singer.
Texas Tech pitchers limited the Gators to five hits but issued five walks. That was more than good enough against a Florida offense that has struggled for three straight games.
To have a chance to repeat as champions, the Gators (47-20) must win four straight to reach the best-of-three finals. Only Oregon State in 2006 and South Carolina 2010 have lost their Omaha openers and made it to the finals since the tournament went to its current structure in 1999.
Until Nelson Maldonado’s two-run homer into the left-field bullpen pulled the Gators to 5-3 in the seventh, Florida’s only run had come when Deacon Liput came home on a balk by Ryan Shetter.
Shetter (6-0), who pitched 4 1/3 innings of three-hit relief, earned the win.
Singer (12-2), the No. 18 overall draft pick by the Kansas City Royals, went 6 1/3 innings and allowed five runs — two earned — and nine hits.
The Red Raiders took a 3-1 lead in the fifth after Cody Farhat singled with two outs and ended up on third when shortstop Liput threw wildly to first on Braxton Fulford’s grounder. Farhat and Fulford both scored when Holt chopped a ball through the right side.
Tech added two more in the sixth, and it was a three-run game in the ninth when Holt, the Big 12 freshman of the year, singled into right field.
The Gators had runners at third three times and failed each time to get them home, and they were just 1 for 15 with runners on base.
In its last three games, Florida has scored a total of eight runs while batting .186.
Arkansas 8, Texas 5: Luke Bonfield hit the go-ahead home run in the fifth inning and Arkansas broke it open with an eight-run sixth in an 11-5 victory over Texas on Sunday in the College World Series.
The Razorbacks (45-19) scored double-digit runs for the fourth time in six NCAA Tournament wins and had their highest total in 28 CWS games. The Longhorns (42-22), in the CWS for a record 36th time, lost their third straight Omaha opener since 2011.
Bonfield delivered the first home run of the CWS with his two-run shot to left for a 3-2 lead. Parker Joe Robinson took over for Texas starter Nolan Kingham (8-5) to start the sixth and walked the only two batters he faced. That started a parade of pitchers who either struggled to find the strike zone or got dinged for single after single.
Arkansas led 5-2 with the bases loaded when the teams were pulled off the field because of lightning in the bottom of the sixth. The Razorbacks picked up where they left off after the 2-hour, 49-minute delay. In all, 10 straight batters reached base, 14 went to the plate and Texas used five pitchers in an inning that matched Arkansas’ biggest of the season.
The Razorbacks swept the Longhorns 13-4 and 7-5 in Fayetteville in March, but this was the first time the old rivals from the Southwest Conference days had been matched in the CWS since 2004. The Razorbacks are 2-3 against Texas in five CWS meetings.
Arkansas starter Blaine Knight (13-0), the Baltimore Orioles’ third-round draft pick, allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in five innings. He struck out four.
Big 12 player of the year Kody Clemens, son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens and one of the hottest hitters in the postseason, was 1 for 5 with two strikeouts.