Tucker's hit in 8th sends Florida to CWS finals

By Eric Olson

Associated Press

Published: Friday, June 24 2011 3:36 p.m. MDT

Vanderbilt's Tony Kemp, bottom, is caught stealing by Florida first baseman Preston Tucker, following a rundown between first and second base in the third inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game in Omaha, Neb., Friday, June 24, 2011.

Ted Kirk, Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. — Preston Tucker drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded single in the eighth inning and Florida survived some shaky bullpen work to advance to the College World Series finals with a 6-4 victory over Vanderbilt on Friday.

The second-seeded Gators (53-17) will play South Carolina or Virginia in the best-of-three championship round starting Monday.

Alex Panteliodis limited Vanderbilt (54-12) to three hits in six innings before five relievers squandered all of his 4-1 lead.

But Daniel Pigott singled and Cody Dent and Nolan Fontana reached on back-to-back bunts before Tucker drove a ball into deep left. The Gators were up two runs after Mark Lamm's breaking ball in the dirt bounced away from Curt Casali, allowing Dent to come home.

Austin Maddox (3-0) earned the win. Oakland Athletics first-round draft pick Sonny Gray (12-4) took the loss for Vanderbilt, which was in the CWS for the first time.

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