Moments after Auburn took its first lead of the day in the bottom of the 8th inning in a must-win game two of the Gainesville Super Regional, all the momentum was halted by one swing of the bat by Florida’s Austin Langworthy.
Langworthy crushed a 2-1 pitch from Auburn freshman Cody Greenhill over the right field wall to knot the game at two apiece.
The Gators looked poised to rally and clinch their fourth consecutive College World Series appearance, but Auburn’s bats had other ideas.
After Brendan Venter and Jay Estes reached base to start the inning, Luke Jarvis lined a walk-off single into the left-center field gap off Florida closer Michael Byrne to give Auburn a 3-2 victory and force a winner-take-all game three Monday night.
“You just root for guys like that,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “I do think he’s the best second baseman in the Southeastern Conference. For him to him to hang in there, get that last at-bat – there’s nobody on our team that deserves that more than Luke Jarvis. I think, to a man, our team, coach, players, if they had somebody up there to be able to get a hit like that in a big ballgame to get the first Super Regional win in Auburn baseball history, that’s significant.
"And for Luke Jarvis to get it, there’s nobody more deserving.”
Auburn’s Tanner Burns and Florida’s Jackson Kowar were the story of the afternoon as the two starters went back and forth keeping the two high-powered offenses off the board for the majority of the game.
Burns turned in six innings of work, holding Florida to one run on five hits. The freshman from Decatur, Alabama struck out three and walked four.
The two teams traded single runs in the fourth inning with Florida’s Nick Horvath driving in a run with a two-out double and Auburn’s Steven Williams launching the 13th home run of his freshman season.
Auburn took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a one-out RBI double by Will Holland that scored Josh Anthony from first base.
The Gators tied it moments later on the home run by Langworthy, which set the stage for Jarvis’ heroics.
“Pandemonium. That’s as good as it gets from a feelings perspective when you play this game,” Jarvis said. “You’re not hitting the ball well and then sure enough you come up in kind of a big situation and all you’ve got to do is put the ball in play. It sounds a lot tougher when you’re in there. These guys played amazing. It was a big team win.
“That was pretty cool. I was trying not to do too much, just trying to see it and hit it. Thank God it worked out."
Auburn and Florida’s seasons will come down to one final game in the Super Regional, as the winner will head to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series.
"I just don't think our guys blinked," Thompson said. "Langworthy hit the big home run after we worked really hard to score a run and we come right back in the bottom half and find a way with Byrne on the mound. Now that he's been on the mound two days in a row, find a way to win a 3-2 ballgame and at least survive and give ourselves an opportunity to come out and play nine innings for an opportunity to go to Omaha."
Auburn will send senior Andrew Mitchell (2-2, 4.30 ERA) to the mound. Florida has yet to announce a starter.
First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. CST on ESPN.
Luke Jarvis celebrate after his walk-off single. Courtesy of SEC Network.