The College World Series has been held in Omaha, Nebraska since 1950. While Florida State has never taken a title, the school has appeared in the series a total of twenty-two times with seven of the instances being in the 1990’s. Other universities that have appeared more than Florida State include the Miami Hurricanes and Texas Longhorns. Currently, the Florida Gators are competing against Louisiana State University for the national championship. Florida is one game away from its elusive first national title, following a narrow 4-3 victory over LSU. The potentially clinching Game 2 is set for 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, while the Tigers will look to even the series and force a Wednesday game.
Three Florida Gator’s baseball players will be representing the Orlando-area in the College World Series. Michael Bryne from Olympia High School, Deacon Liput from Oviedo High School and Ryan Larson from Dr. Phillips High School will play their part in the matchup for the national championship.
Michael Byrne, Olympia High School
Michael Byrne, a walk-on, set Florida’s record for single-season saves and has been the Gators’ most reliable reliever this year. Bryne is a right-handed pitcher from Olympia High School who played for head coach Chuck Schal. Olympia High School has grown to become a premier public high school in the past decade. At the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year, Olympia’s sports teams were ranked fourth in the 8A state standings. In addition, Olympia’s athletic teams were also ranked fifth among all 8A schools for their grade point average. Home of the Olympia Titans, notable alumni include Jesse Winker, professional baseball player Cincinnati Reds, Nick Gordon, Minnesota Twins shortstop, Brad Miller, Tampa Bay Rays shortstop and Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos quarterback. Byrne is making his way to be a notable alumni as well. In 2016, as a Florida Gator, Bryne saw action in 13 games, all in relief. He pitched to a 0-1 record with a 3.94 ERA, gave up 8 runs (7 earned) on 11 hits and 3 walks in 16.0 innings of work. Overall he registered 15 strikeouts on the season. His 2017 stats can be found here.
Deacon Liput, Oviedo High School
Deacon Liput has been hitting his stride during Gators’ College World Series run. Liput is an infielder from Oviedo High School who played for head coach Jason Foss. He hit .270 (65-241) with 36 RBI and 39 runs scored. Oviedo High School is a class 8A high school and has an in-town rivalry with Hagerty High School. The Lions also have a rivalry with Winter Springs High School and Lake Brantley High School. Oviedo offers over sixteen athletic programs ranging from water polo to baseball and soccer. Oviedo, one of the oldest schools in Central Florida, recently underwent a $50 million renovation project. Notable alumni include comedian Tom Rhodes, professional runner and Olympian Jennifer Simpson, professional baseball player Mark Bellhorn and professional football player Blake Bortles. While Liput was a Sophmore at Oviedo he committed to play for the Florida Gators as part of the 2015 recruiting class. As a freshman for the Gators in 2016, Liput played in all 68 games and started 67, with the primary position of 2nd base. His 2017 stats can be found here.
Ryan Larson, Dr. Phillips High School
Ryan Larson is currently a senior at Florida. Larson is an Outfielder from Dr. Phillips High School who played for head coach Mike Bradley. Phillips High School, whose motto is “Never Less Than The Best,” has a football stadium named after the school’s first principal, Bill Spoone. The school’s gymnasium is named after its second principal, Dr. Larry Payne, and is nicknamed “The House of Payne. While the Dr. Phillips Panters have won multiple FHSAA state championships in a variety of sports, they’ve had even more success in turning out professionally bound athletes. Most notable include former MLB player Brian Barber, NBA basketball player Shane Larkin, NFL linebacker for the Buffalo Bills Matt Milano, and Mark Ruiz, a member of the US Olympic Diving Team at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics. As a Florida Gator Junior in 2016, Phillips alumni Ryan Larson appeared in 59 games for the Gators, starting 20 (12 in LF and 8 in RF). He hit .161 (14-87) with 7 RBI and 12 runs scored, recorded 2 doubles, giving him a slugging percentage of .184. His 2017 stats can be found here
Road To The Championship
According to the Florida Gator’s website,
Regular Season: 40-15 (first in SEC East)
Record vs. Top 25: 22-7
Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan, 10th year (446-208, .682)
All-Time CWS Record: 17-22
CWS Appearances: 11 (1988, ’91, ’96, ’98, 2005, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’15, ’16, ’17)
CWS Titles: None