For a few brief seconds, utter silence, as seemingly every fan in the stadium drew a collective inhale. And then, pandemonium.
It’s not often you get to witness a head coach literally leap into his closer’s arms, but that is exactly what happened when Florida baseball used an Austin Langworthy walk-off home run to slay Auburn in the 2018 Gainesville Super Regional.
There were a lot of candidates for the best game I ever witnessed live. Some off the top of my head are the 2017 Hail Mary football win against Tennessee and when Ole Miss took down Florida and Tebow made The Promise shortly thereafter.
But when I sit and think about the entirety of both that weekend and that single game, I knew this was the one.
It was Game 3 of the Gainesville Super Regional, and Florida jumped out early with a Jonathan India homer in the first inning. Auburn went on to tie it at 1 not long after.
Yes, the reason this game went down in history was the Langworthy walk-off, but a lot of people forget about O’Sullivan reaching deep in his bag of tricks.
In the fourth inning, center fielder Nick Horvath stole second and fell over on purpose. As Auburn attempted to pick him off, second baseman Blake Reese stole home to take the lead. I mean, with a tie ballgame? Every single writer in the booth had to double-take and watch the replay a few times to understand. What a pair of stones on O’Sullivan.
Of course, Auburn went on to tie it in the seventh and into extras it went.
As sports writers, at that point, we were just so beat. I remember getting roughly seven hours of sleep over three nights because games would run so late or, in one instance, a game got delayed for 11 hours and then wasn’t played. Eleven innings later, we finally got some payoff.
As soon as Langworthy put the barrel on the ball, the crowd went ballistic before realizing Auburn right fielder Steven Williams was on the line to make the grab.
You can watch the video (shameless plug) yourself and listen. Right around the six-second mark, the air drops out.
And Williams knocks it over the fence.
If you take a closer look at the video, around 15 or 16 seconds in, you can see O’Sullivan being put down by closer Michael Byrne. To add to a hilarious scene, the entire team cheers waiting for Langworthy at the plate while O’Sullivan waits a few feet back and refuses to cheer until he sees the left fielder cross the plate.
I think as a member of the media, you’re allowed one time where you cheer in the press box.
This was my one.