OMAHA, Neb. | Best way to avoid more one-run loss heartache? Don’t let the other team score at all.

 

Florida took that route Sunday night against TCU in the first round of the College World Series as Alex Faedo and Michael Byrne combined for a dominant 3-0 five-hit shutout.

The Gators (48-18) broke a three-game CWS losing streak with their first shutout here since 1991 (5-0 vs. Florida State). Florida’s last three games in Omaha were one-run losses, two last season and another in the semifinal round in 2015.

Horned Frogs’ coach Jim Schlossnagle joked on Friday that the Gators’ defense was so solid because they had pitchers who strike batters out. He proved to be prophetic.

Faedo struck out 11 batters in seven innings, and Byrne fanned four as 15 of TCU’s 27 outs via the strikeout.

“Obviously, it started on the mound for us,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Alex was special. The last two to three weeks, he’s been different.”

Offensively, the Gators didn’t do much against Frogs ace Jared Janczak, but they didn’t need a whole lot.

Single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings gave Faedo and Byrne the cushion they needed. A common thread in two of those was Janczak allowing the leadoff batter to reach and increase pressure.

Ryan Larson got that started from the jump when he walked to begin the bottom of the first inning. Janczak’s errant pickoff throw moved him up and two productive outs generated a run – Dalton Guthrie’s 3-1 grounder and JJ Schwarz’s roller to shortstop with the infield back.

Faedo encountered trouble in the third inning when he walked Connor Wanhanen, an error on a fielder’s choice allowed another runner on and leadoff man Austen Wade worked his way on base with a full-count free pass. After a chat with O’Sullivan, Faedo blazed three strikes past Zach Humphreys and struck out Frogs’ slugger Evan Skoug to squash the rally.

“You have to find a way to get out of that because you know if you do, the other team folds up a little bit and your team gets some energy from it,” Faedo said.

That was the second of three innings when Faedo fanned two and he recorded at least one K in each of his seven innings.

Meanwhile, Janczak’s struggle with control bit him in the fourth.

After striking out Gators second baseman Deacon Liput, the TCU pitcher walked Mike Rivera to set the table. Austin Langworthy chopped a single over Wanhanen’s leaping attempt at first base to send Rivera to third base with one out. Janczak kept nibbling to Florida nine-hole batter Christian Hicks until Hicks rolled an RBI single to left field for a 2-0 cushion.

The Gators chased Janczak the next inning with three consecutive singles to start the inning from Guthrie, Schwarz and Nelson Maldonado – all on the first or second pitch of the at-bat.

The Frogs finished with only three hits vs. Faedo. They got two in the same inning for the only time all night in Byrne’s first inning, but he buckled down to fan four of the final seven batters.

“They just smother you with outstanding pitching,” Schlossnagle said.

Guthrie and Maldonado collected two hits apiece to pace Florida’s nine-hit night.

UF was 6-for-18 with a runner on base and produced three two-out hits to go with three more to start innings.

“We did just enough offense, but this is who we are and who we have been all year long,” O’Sullivan said.