2024 College World Series: Highlights as Florida defeats NC State in elimination game

Monday's College World Series action started with an elimination game in the early afternoon.

Florida and N.C. State faced off in Omaha fighting for their right to stay in the tournament after each team lost its respective first-round game by one run. With one loss apiece in the double-elimination bracket, both the Gators and Wolfpack needed to avoid any more losses through four games to advance to the CWS finals.

At the end of the day, it was the Gators walking away with a 5-4 win over No. 10 NC State. Toward the end of the game, it became a serious pitching duel as NC State's Logan Whitaker gave the Wolfpack seven innings of one-run ball, while recording ten strikeouts. On the other side, Florida's dominant closer Brandon Neely gave the Gators three innings, surrendering only two baserunners and striking out six.

Here's everything that went down in Monday's College World Series elimination game.

COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: What games are on Monday? Florida, NC State play for their season

Highlights from Florida's 5-4 win over NC State

Gators win! 5-4

After two strikeouts to lead off the bottom of the ninth, NC State second baseman Alec Makarewicz flew out to Florida left fielder Tyler Shelnut.

Despite Logan Whitaker's seven outstanding innings of relief for NC State, it wasn't enough to overcome the Gators.

Brandon Neely gets two strikeouts to lead off bottom of the ninth

Holding onto a one-run lead, Florida closer Brandon Neely, who leads the College World Series in strikeouts, got Eli Serrano to lead off the bottom of the ninth. He followed that dominant at-bat up with a four-pitch strikeout against Garrett Pennington.

Neely struck out four straight batters to put the Gators within one out of winning.

Whitaker sets new personal-best with tenth strikeout in top of the ninth

Whitaker didn't lose any gas to start the ninth inning. The NC State stud struck out Michael Robertson to lead off the ninth inning, his tenth of the game, and the best of Whitaker's NC State career.

Whitaker has also set a new career-high in pitches thrown with 110 through seven innings of relief.

Neely gets out of jam in bottom of the eighth

With one out and a runner in scoring position, Florida reliever Brandon Neely struck out two straight batters in order to get out of the jam.

The first strikeout was dangerous. The backfoot slider hit the batter, Chase Nixon, and bounced away from the catcher. That allowed the runner to advance to third. Neely was also able to strike out Noah Soles to maintain the Gators' 5-4 lead.

Whitaker gets his ninth strikeout in the eighth

Whitaker is through six innings of relief in this elimination game. He has allowed two hits, two walks and one run in that time with nine strikeouts. The Wolfpack still trail by one run entering the bottom of the eighth inning.

Neely is Florida's new pitcher in seventh

For a second straight inning, the Gators went to the bullpen after a leadoff walk. This time, Brandon Neely entered after 1+ inning of work from Clemente.

Neely struck out two around a flyout and a walk to pitch around the inherited runner and keep the Wolfpack off the board.

Whitaker up to 8 Ks through five innings

After taking over in the third inning, Logan Whitaker has struck out eight of the 18 batters he's faced. The seventh inning was Whitaker's third perfect frame in five innings and he's retired seven straight betters.

Clemente enters for the Gators in the sixth; defense limits danger

After 4+ innings of relief, Fisher exits in the sixth inning after issuing a leadoff walk to Luke Nixon. RHP Jake Clemente enters as the Gators' third pitcher of the day.

Florida's defense helped out their reliever with an excellent snag on a popped up bunt attempt, a runner caught stealing on an attempted hit-and-run and a smooth play by Shelton on a groundout up the middle of the infield.

Soles dives to secure another perfect inning for Whitaker

Whitaker secured his seventh strikeout and second perfect inning in the sixth. He has Soles to thank for keeping his sixth inning clean after a diving catch in right field kept Kurland from a potential extra-base hit.

Wolfpack cut deficit back to one with a pair of doubles

After Pennington began the bottom of the fifth with a hard-hit double to left field, Fisher nearly got out of trouble with an ensuing groundout and strikeout. But Butterworth secured his second RBI of the game with a double of his own to right field.

Shelnut mashes solo homer to extend Gators' lead

Down 1-2 in the count, the left fielder pulled a Whitaker changeup into the bullpen behind the wall in left field. It put the Gators ahead 5-3 on a rare mistake pitch from Whitaker, who's up to six strikeouts in three innings of work.

Fisher faces minimum in the fourth

Fisher induced three ground balls in his third inning of work, including one that Kurland misplayed and another that resulted in a double play.

Whitaker strikes out three, strands two in the fourth

In a second inning of relief, Whitaker allowed one single (by Robertson) and an intentional walk (to Caglianone) but struck out Donay, Kurland and Wilson to keep a clean sheet.

NC State strikes back with 2-run home run

After Pennington gets on thanks to a fastball to the wrist, Makarewicz belts a two-run home run into left and brings the Wolfpack within one.

Score: Florida 4, NC State 3

Fisher starts out shaky in the third

Pennington is a magnet today. The bottom of the third gets started with Pennington getting plunked for the second time today. Fisher had the honors this time around.

Whitaker takes over for NC State

Logan Whitaker takes the bump in the third and gets an immediate strikeout on Heyman with a timely changeup after back-to-back 93 mile-per-hour fastballs.

Florida in a groove

Cade Fisher couldn't have asked for a better half inning. Comes in for relief and gets a pop-out and issues two consecutive ground outs. We head to the top of the third.

Florida up early as Fisher relieves Caglianone

Fritton gets out of a nightmare half-inning with a swinging strike three on Shelton. Florida now heads to the bottom of second with the lead.

Cade Fisher now takes the bump, reliving Caglianone who has done enough with the bat to make up for the run issued in the first. The broadcast mentions that there is nothing wrong with Caglianone's arm and is merely resting with fatigue.

Caglianone crushes three-run home run

Florida is now fully in control after Jac Caglianone crushes a three-run home run beyond right field. Fritton continues to struggle with an immediate walk to Wilson after.

Score: Florida 4, NC State 1

Florida ties it up

Dale Thomas scores from third on a sac fly by Kurland. Florida ties it up with Caglianone up with runners on.

Florida is threatening with bases loaded

Fritton gets off to a shaky start in the second. After getting a line out to short, the pitcher has issued consecutive walks to Donay and Thomas. Then Michael Robertson lines a single to left to load the bases with Jac Caglianone on deck.

NC State flashes the leather

Shelnut gets a good piece of one but is robbed by the quick glove of Butterworth who saves a single for the first out.

Wolfpack strike first in bottom of the first

After Florida starter Jac Caglianone hit a batter and issued two walks, N.C. State shortstop Brandon Butterworth cashed in for the Wolfpack with an RBI single.

NC State SP Dominic Fritton hits two, Ks two in first

Dominic Fritton induced an easy groundout to second base then struck out top MLB draft prospect and opposing starter Jac Caglianone to begin the game. He followed that up with back-to-back hit batsmen before settling for a strikeout to end the inning.

Florida Gators lineup:

SP: LHP Jac Caglianone

  1. 2B Cade Kurland

  2. P Jac Caglianone

  3. RF Ashton Wilson

  4. SS Colby Shelton

  5. 1B Luke Heyman

  6. LF Tyler Shelnut

  7. 3B Dale Thomas

  8. C Brody Donay

  9. CF Michael Robertson

NC State Wolfpack lineup:

SP: LHP Dominic Fritton

  1. CF Eli Serrano III

  2. 1B Garrett Pennington

  3. 3B Alec Makarewicz

  4. C Jacob Cozart

  5. SS Brandon Butterworth

  6. DH Alex Sosa

  7. LF Luke Nixon

  8. 2B Matt Heavner

  9. RF Noah Soles

How did the NC State Wolfpack get here?

N.C. State hosted a regional as the No. 10 national seed and swept through their region, winning all three games to head to the Athens super regional against Georgia. The Wolfpack blew out the Bulldogs, 18-1, in game one then were blown out, 11-2, in game two. N.C. State prevailed in the ensuing game three to make their way to Omaha for the second time in four years.

The Wolfpack lost their first game in Omaha to Kentucky in heartbreaking fashion. They took the lead in the top of the ninth on a wild pitch before allowing the Wildcats to tie it and force extra innings with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the inning. Kentucky walked it off on another home run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, sending N.C. State to an elimination game.

How did the Florida Gators get here?

The Gators won the Stillwater Regional after playing just two teams. They beat Nebraska to start the tournament, then lost to Oklahoma State the following day. The next day they faced the Huskers again – whom they eliminated with another win – before getting their revenge on the Cowboys later that evening to force a winner-take-all regional final. They beat the regional hosts once again to head to the super regional.

Florida matched up with Clemson in the super regional and took care of business in two games – including a 13-inning marathon in game two – for the best-of-3 series sweep. That sent the Gators to Omaha, where they lost their first game, 2-3, to Texas A&M, forcing this elimination game on Monday.

College World Series bracket: Remaining Schedule

Elimination games will be denoted with an asterisk (*). Away teams listed first. All times Eastern.

Monday, June 17

  • *Game 7: Florida vs. N.C. State, 2 p.m.

  • Game 8: Texas A&M vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 18

  • *Game 9: Florida State vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m.

  • *Game 10: Winner of Game 7 vs. Loser of Game 8, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 19

  • Game 11: Winner of Game 9 vs. Tennesee, 2 p.m.

    • Elimination game for Game 9 winner

  • Game 12: Winner of Game 10 vs. Winner of Game 8, 7 p.m.

    • Elimination game for Game 10 winner

Thursday, June 20

Times TBD.

  • Bracket 1 final: Only necessary if Game 9 winner beats Tennessee in Game 11

  • Bracket 2 final: Only necessary if Game 10 winner beats Game 8 winner

Men's College World Series Finals

Best-of-three series between Bracket 1 winner and Bracket 2 winner.

  • Game 1: Saturday, June 22, 7:30 p.m.

  • Game 2: Sunday, June 23, 2 p.m.

  • Game 3 (if necessary): Monday, June 24, 7 p.m.

Florida vs. NC State predictions:

The Fayetteville Observer: N.C. State 5, Florida 4

Rodd Baxley writes: "The Wolfpack hasn’t lost back-to-back games since late April. N.C. State’s consistency and power at the top of the lineup will help it stick around in Omaha for a bit longer."

The Gainesville Sun: Florida 6, N.C. State 3

Kevin Brockway writes: "The Gators have been resilient throughout the postseason, so it's hard to expect anything different on Monday. Even if Caglianone struggles, Florida could turn to closer Brandon Neely early after Neely threw 23 pitches in two scoreless innings on Saturday."

Action Network: Take Florida to win and don't expect many home runs

Collin Wilson writes: "If Caglianone takes the mound, Florida projects as a -144 favorite ... Winds continue to be a major factor at Charles Schwab Field, as numerous home runs have been caught at the warning track. The wind projects at 20 mph sustained with over 30 mph gusts blowing straight in from right-center."

Florida vs. NC State: Odds, spread and lines for College World Series

The Gators are favored to win Monday's game, according to the BetMGM college baseball odds. Looking to wager? Check out the best mobile sports betting apps offering 2024 sports betting promos.

Odds listed as of Monday.

  • Spread: Florida (-1.5)

  • Moneyline: Florida (-145); N.C. State (+110)

  • O/U: 9.5

College World Series tickets

Prices for Monday's game at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha range from $10-100 before fees on Ticketmaster.

Florida vs. NC State: TV, time, streaming and how to watch

  • Date: Monday, June 17

  • Time: 2 p.m. ET

  • Cable TV: ESPN

  • Streaming: ESPN+; YouTube TV; fuboTV

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida vs. NC State: Highlights as Gators defeat Wolfpack in CWS