OMAHA, Neb. — One high draft pick down, another one ahead.
When Florida meets Vanderbilt tonight in the College World Series, the Gators will face a pitcher with a big bonus payday ahead of him for the second straight game.
The Gators (51-17) throw freshman Karsten Whitson (8-0) against Commodores left-hander Grayson Garvin, a new Rays prospect taken 59th overall in this month's Major League Baseball draft.
Garvin (13-3) led Vanderbilt in wins and tied South Carolina's Michael Roth for the SEC lead.
But he's not even the highest draft pick Florida has faced in this tournament.
Saturday, Florida started the CWS by chasing Texas right-hander Taylor Jungmann after 41/3 innings in an 8-4 victory. Jungmann was the 13th overall pick by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Gators also know their opponent well.
Vanderbilt (53-10) met Florida in the SEC tournament championship game, with the Gators winning 5-0 on May 29 in Hoover, Ala. UF also took two out of three in a series May 13-15 in Nashville.
The one time Vandy defeated Florida this season was with Garvin on the mound. The Commodores won 14-1 on May 14 as Garvin pitched seven innings, striking out six and allowing one run on six hits.
The winner of tonight's game gets to rest until Friday. The loser faces the winner of today's Texas-North Carolina winner in an elimination game.
Senior Bryson Smith is hitting .556 (15-for-27) in the NCAA tournament to lead the Gators and comes in with a career-high 11-game hitting streak.
Gamecocks master drama; Cavs also win
South Carolina opened its defense of the College World Series title with a dramatic win Sunday, 5-4 over Texas A&M, with a run in the ninth inning.
Scott Wingo capped a 4-for-4 night with a bases-loaded, no-out single to right to drive in the winner. The Gamecocks (50-14) scored four in the bottom of the first after the Aggies (47-20) had four in the top of the frame.
In the first game, John Hicks' single in the seventh broke a scoreless tie in what until then had been the longest 0-0 game at the CWS since 1987, as top seed Virginia defeated California 4-1.
The No. 1 seed Cavs (55-10) face defending champion South Carolina on Tuesday. Cal (37-22) meets A&M on Tuesday in an elimination game.
BASKETBALL: Florida's Patric Young is one of 13 finalists for the 12-man U.S. Under-19 World Championship team. Another Gator, Scottie Wilbekin, was cut from the roster during camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. The team leaves Friday for Latvia, where the championships will be held June 30-July 10.
FOOTBALL: Nevada coach Chris Ault received a two-year contract extension after a 13-1 record and the No. 11 ranking last season. His contract calls for a $25,000 annual salary increase but Ault, 64, forfeited the increase in the coming year; his salary starting July 1 will be $435,119.