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Florida, LSU set for CWS finals

OMAHA, Neb. (AP)  The matchup for the College World Series finals certainly bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the Southeastern Conference.

To get to the best-of-three finals starting Monday night, LSU (52-18) beat an Oregon State team , which had the highest winning percentage of any program in four decades, twice in two days. Florida (50-19) became the fourth team in CWS history to shut out an opponent twice with a pair of 3-0 wins over TCU wrapped around a 9-2 loss to the Horned Frogs.

So here they are, the teams that shared the SEC regular-season championship playing for the national title in Omaha.

"I think this is how it had to be," LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson said Sunday. "If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best. I think both teams are happy with who is in the finals."

With eight players taken in the first 10 rounds of last year's Major League Baseball draft, the 2016 Gators were the season-long favorites to break through with a championship. They went 0-2 in Omaha.

This year's team lacks depth and dynamic offense, but has been able to count on dominant pitching and defense. The Gators have played 25 one-run games and won 18 of them.

"I had a feeling early on if we stayed healthy that we had the ingredients to be successful out here," Gators coach Kevin O'Sullivan said.

"I thought our starting pitching was going to be as good as anybody's in the country. We needed to figure out our bullpen, and Michael Byrne has turned out to be outstanding at the end."

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