Austin Langworthy walk-off HR sends Gators back to Omaha

Rex Christensen
June 13, 2018

The Gators beat Auburn 3-2 on Monday night at the Gainesville Super Regional to earn a return trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, thanks to a walk-off home run from Austin Langworthy in the bottom of the 11th inning. The line drive shot to right field, which caromed off the glove of Auburn right fielder Steven Williams and over the right field fence, was Langworthy's fourth home run of the season and fourth career postseason home run. Williams had a bead on it, but it bounced off his glove and over the fence.

The hit was Langworthy's first of the day, but his second homer of the three-game series.

It was a message echoed throughout the team toward Williams, a catcher by trade who unselfishly took over full-time duty in right field this season while JUCO catcher Brett Wright settled in behind the plate.

After the game Langworthy said he was looking for the fastball and knew it had a chance to get out as soon as he hit it. "That's how this game works".

Similar to the play in the sixth, left fielder Judd Ward put his body parallel to the ground to steal another base hit from Langworthy. Williams' teammates and coaches walked to right field to console him.

"The moment on the road, loud, there was definitely a delay", Thompson said. "It will be part of his journey".

In its next game, Florida will play Texas Tech at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday in the Gators' quest to repeat.

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Florida struck first in the first inning with a solo home run by SEC Player of the Year Jonathan India, who launched one to the Auburn bullpen against Mitchell.

Auburn (43-23) was trying to get to the CWS for the first time since 1997.

Game over. Walk-off homer. Byrne pitched in all three games, part of a staff that allowed just seven runs in the series.

"He was special", O'Sullivan said of the Olympia High alum. "He's a starter that's in the back end of the bullpen". India became the fifth player in program history with at least 20 dingers in a season.

Auburn answered with a two-out rally off Leftwich to tie the score at 1. Florida went back ahead with a little trickery. During regional play, Auburn's offense pushed across 40 runs. After the replay, though, Mitchell's hesitation made sense. Reese's head-first slide beat Mitchell's throw.

Langworthy got the best of Greenhill on Sunday, hitting a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Auburn's walk-off win. "Arguably the best I've seen him throw". He hit a big home run for us yesterday in the ball game.

The Tigers don't look like a one-year wonder. Expecting the ball to fall in for a hit, Dalton rounded second base by at least 10 feet, allowing Tigers' center fielder Jay Estes to turn an easy double play following a diving catch. Dalton misplayed a single in the ensuing frame, allowing Luke Jarvis an extra base. Dalton almost atoned for his mistake, firing a strong throw home on a fly to right by Joel Anthony. Following the game, O'Sullivan strongly hinted that senior catcher JJ Schwarz could be back for the game. The Gators need him, too, after backup Jonah Girand went 0-for-11 with eight strikeouts in the super regional.

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