Gators will face Vanderbilt tonight in College World Series
Florida returns to play in the NCAA Men's College World Series tonight with a game against a familiar foe.
The Gators will play Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. It will be the fifth time this season the Gators and Commodores have met, with Florida holding a 3-1 edge.
The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
Florida earned its first-ever victory over Texas Saturday night, snapping a four-game losing streak at the CWS for the program dating back to 2005. With the win, the Gators (51-17) equaled their school record for wins in a season, tying Joe Arnold's 1991 team that went 51-21.
Tonight's game will be the seventh time that Florida will face a league opponent at the CWS and the Gators have a 1-5 (.167) mark in those outings. The Gators dropped a couple of games to LSU in both 1991 (8-1, 19-8) and 1996 (9-4, 2-1) and were defeated by Mississippi State in 1998 (14-13) before earning a win over Tennessee in 2005 (6-4).
Freshman Karsten Whitson (8-0, 2.45) will be making his 18th start of the year, matching sophomore Hudson Randall for the team lead. Vanderbilt will open with junior Grayson Garvin (13-1, 2.36). In 88 innings, Whitson has a team-high 83 strikeouts and has limited opponents to a .234 batting average. Whitson faced Vanderbilt on May 15 but was not involved in the decision after giving up five hits and three runs, with five strikeouts and one walk, over 4.1 innings. The Gators have scored a total of 150 runs in his 17 starts, good for an average of 8.8 per game, and boast a 15-2 (.882) record when he pitches.