GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Gators have been waiting a year for this.
Players and coaches never said it publicly, rarely even mentioned it privately. But returning to the College World Series was the one common goal everyone in the program shared, and not solely because it's the pinnacle of college baseball.
It had more to do with how close the Gators got to winning it all last season. Florida lost to South Carolina in the championship series and spent months thinking about what could have been. Not making things any easier, the Gators played all season amid sky-high expectations that come with returning nearly every starter.
Nonetheless, the Gators are back in Omaha, Neb., with their sights set on winning it all. They open against two-time defending champion South Carolina on Saturday.