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Timely hitting carries Florida to 5-1 College World Series win over Louisville

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The Cards’ path to the CWS championship series just got a whole lot tougher.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida vs Louisville Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Florida pitcher Brady Singer was tremendous and his offense was able to deliver big blows at the perfect time Tuesday night in Omaha. The result was a 5-1 Gator victory, forcing Louisville into a situation where it must win three straight games in order to advance to the Championship Series round of the College World Series.

The Cardinals find themselves squarely on the wrong side of history, as 23 of the last 27 College World Series champions have started the event 2-0.

It was an odd night for Louisville starter Kade McClure, who was mostly dominant over six innings, striking out nine and allowing just three hits and one walk. Unfortunately for the junior righty, two of those three Florida hits landed over the outfield fence.

The first Gator home run came off the bat of eight spot hitter Austin Langworthy, whose solo shot down left field line kicked off the game’s scoring in the top of the third. An inning later, a two out walk and a bloop single set the stage for Deacon Liput’s three-run smash to right center. McClure suffered the loss for the Cards, dropping his record to 8-4 on the year. He’ll hope to have a shot to earn win No. 9 either this weekend or early next week.

U of L’s biggest chance to get back into the game came in the home half of the 7th inning. After pushing their only run of the night across, the Cardinals were able to load the bases with two outs, forcing Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan to make the questionable decision to leave a tiring Singer in the game. It paid off, as Singer was able to coerce Logan Taylor into an inning-ending groundout to short.

Despite trailing for the vast majority of the evening, Louisville still sound up out-hitting Florida, 7-5.

The Cardinals now turn their attention to Thursday night, when they will face sixth-seeded TCU in an elimination game at 8 p.m. ET. The Horned Frogs, who are playing in the College World Series for the fourth straight year, took a 3-0 loss to Florida on Sunday. They bounced back with a 4-1 win over Texas A&M on Tuesday to extend their stay in Omaha by at least two days.

ESPN2 will carry Thursday night’s contest.