GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Wil Dalton drove in two runs, Deacon Liput homered for the second time in three games and top-seeded Florida roughed up No. 1 draft pick Casey Mize and Auburn 8-2 Saturday in the opening game of a best-of-three series in the NCAA baseball tournament.
The defending national champion Gators (46-18) are now one victory away from returning to the College World Series for the fourth consecutive year. The Tigers (42-22) have to win two straight to advance to Omaha, Nebraska, for the first time since 1997.
Pitching for the first time since becoming first-round draft picks, Brady Singer out-dueled Mize for the second time in 44 days. It was a much-hyped matchup of soon-to-be millionaires, with Mize going to Detroit with the first pick Monday night and Singer taken by Kansas City with the 18th selection.
Mize (10-6) gave up six earned runs on seven hits, walked a career-high four and a hit batter. He lasted just five innings and lost his fourth straight start against Southeastern Conference opponents. His ERA jumped from 2.95 to 3.30.
Singer (12-1) was much more effective despite giving up two early runs thanks to lead-off walks. The SEC Pitcher of the Year allowed four hits and two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out nine, walked two and plunked two.