For the first time in program history, the Gators get to dogpile on the pitcher's mound in late June. For the first time, they get to wear the shirts and hats with the words printed on them that puts a satisfying end to their season-long journey.
For the first time, the Florida baseball team can call itself a national champion.
It took 103 seasons, 11 trips to the College World Series and three appearances in the CWS Finals, but on Tuesday night in Omaha, the Gators were the ones hoisting up the NCAA title after defeating LSU 6-1.
And what a game it was, too.
UF turned to freshman pitcher Tyler Dyson for just his second career start. LSU went with Jared Poche, the winningest pitcher in Tigers’ program history with 39 career wins.
On this night, Dyson and the Gators got the better of Poche and the Tigers.
The Bradenton, Florida, native provided a career-high six innings pitched, only surrendering one run in the seventh inning and allowing three hits. Despite recording only two strikeouts, Dyson had help from the Gators defense, which made plays all over the field to keep LSU off the board for most of the contest.
And Florida gave its pitcher the run support he needed as well.
In the bottom of the first, second baseman Deacon Liput reached base on an error, and back-to-back singles from shortstop Dalton Guthrie and first baseman JJ Schwarz put UF up 1-0.
In the second inning, outfielder Nick Horvath singled and reached second on an error during a pickoff attempt. On the next at-bat, Liput singled up the middle to score Horvath.
The Gators had another chance to add on runs in the third after loading the bases with one out, but Poche got out of the inning unscathed.
While it was all Florida early on, LSU threatened to take the game over towards the end.
Closer Michael Byrne, who relieved Dyson in the top of the seventh, gave up an RBI double to his first batter, putting the Tigers down 2-1. Jake Slaughter singled on the next at-bat, putting runners on first and third for LSU with no outs.
The next batter, Michael Papierski, hit into a double play that seemed to scored the runner from third, but Slaughter was called for an illegal slide to second, forcing the runner to go back to third base. The Gators got the next batter out, escaping the inning.
LSU had another chance to tie the game in the eighth, with runners on first and third again. But when shortstop Kramer Robertson tried going home on a Greg Deichmann grounder to first base, he was thrown out at the plate, ending the last chance LSU would have of extending the series to a third game.
The Gators would make sure of that by adding on four more runs in the eighth.
After loading up the bases, Horvath was hit by a pitch, bringing in third baseman Jonathan India. A Liput single scored pinch runner Andrew Baker and outfielder Austin Langworthy, and a Schwarz fly out allowed Horvath to reach home.
The Gators went into the final frame on the cusp of their first national title and Jackson Kowar, who relieved Byrne in the eighth inning, closed out the game for Florida by allowing just one hit in six batters faced.
And as Liput made the throw to Schwarz for the last out, the team was already running towards the mound, this time dogpiling as national champions.