Updated: Apr 17
BY KASSIDY HILL AND AINSLEE LEE
While assembling our list of the best Florida Flashback memories from the past decade, there were a few that we kept asking, "what would that have been like from the stands?" We have a good view from the press box, yes, but there's nothing like experiencing a once in a lifetime moment with thousands of your closest friends.
So for this play, we asked to hear from you, the fans. Here are your memories of the Austin Langworthy walk-off home run against Auburn to go to the College World Series.
...but first, a bit of background, as told by GatorBait’s own Ainslee Lee who was there for the hit.
I had just been accepted to UF when Auburn baseball came to Gainesville for the 2018 Super Regional. I don’t claim to be much of a baseball person, but it was a Monday afternoon in the middle of summer and I knew a ticket to Omaha was hinged on the game that evening.
Not wanting to go alone, of course, I dialed up a few of my girlfriends and asked if they wanted to tag along. My hopes weren’t high considering these group of girls knew as much about sports as I know about nuclear physics. Nonetheless, they couldn’t resist a night out watching college baseball players.
Truth be told, I don’t remember much about the game leading up to “the hit”. Most of my night consisted of explaining the game of baseball to my posse – including why people were hanging Ks on the first baseline netting and why some of them were backwards. The seventh-inning stretch was a big hit for them, and for the longest time, I thought that that would be the most enjoyable takeaway for them.
Considering the game began at 8 p.m. and extra innings were required, our time in the bleachers eclipsed three hours. It was also just a few strikes away from midnight. In addition to the stress of the game, I was also stressed I would have to have the stern conversation with my friends that we wouldn’t be leaving early. Thankfully it never got to that point.
When it became clear that a walk-off could be possible, each batter that came to the plate brought me to the edge of my seat. Yet, I don’t remember thinking much of Austin Langworthy’s at-bat in the bottom of the 11th.
A sophomore then, Langworthy was having a rough night and was 0-3 from the plate prior to his last at-bat.
But then, I heard it. Even my friends heard it and quickly looked up from their phones. It was a “crack” that screamed solid contact. I’m not even a baseball person, but I recognized the sound instantly – and I knew it had promise.
I remember rising in unison with the rest of the fans in the third baseline bleachers. And if the sky wasn't black, I would’ve never seen the ball fall from orbit.
Better yet, if the trees behind the right-field wall weren’t darkened by the night, I would have thought that Steven Williams made the grab. But instead, I remember watching the ball ricochet up and over the wall.
It was instantaneous. The second the ball cleared the wall, anything that anyone had in their hands was tossed.
Popcorn, soda, peanuts, hats, water bottles… you name it, I went home wearing it.
Meanwhile, my friends (who still didn’t have a full understanding of what had just happened), looked at me with a face of shock, and maybe disgust as they pulled popcorn out of each other’s hair.
Eventually smiles crept across their face.
“Can we do this again?”
They were hooked. And admittedly, so was I.
Video courtesy of @DSteinfeldt David Steinfeldt
I am a season ticket holder; have been for several years. I remember how tense and intense of an atmosphere it was. Literally was sitting on the edge of my seat on every pitch. You just knew at any moment, the big moment could occur for either team. When Lang hit the ball you could tell us had a chance. Just remember everyone around us and in our group just erupting when it bounced off the Auburn outfielder’s globe and went over the fence. Pure euphoria!!
I am going to try and describe the feeling of being in McKethan Stadium when Austin Langworthy hit the walk-off homer against Auburn in 2018. The moment passed in slow motion for me. I heard the hit off the bat and watched as it sailed to right field. I saw the Auburn defender back towards the fence, raise his gloved hand in the air and catch the ball. But wait, no, the ball bounced out of his glove and fell over the fence for a home run. The stadium exploded. My head was spinning. Did that really just happen- true Gator sports joy!
I was a student for the Langworthy Walk Off HR vs Auburn. Went to the game with some friends even though I’m not that big a fan of baseball. As the game went into extra innings I started to consider leaving to get home for work the next day. I stuck it through the 10th inning but once it got to 11 I figured I would just check the ending tomorrow. I walked down to the aisle/section entrance but stood there to catch one last pitch. (Turned our to be a lot better view than the nosebleeds of the student section). I heard the crack of Langworthy’s bat and saw it sail way out to right field. Everyone around me was in slow motion as we all watched it approach the wall. Then there was that split second of disappointment I felt once it hit the Auburn players glove as I thought our chance was taken away. But once it bounced off the whole stadium exploded and it felt like a wave of energy unleashed from the stadium. I celebrated with other fans who had also crowded the section ramp waiting to get out of the stadium once the game finished. Afterwards, my friend @Clintau24 texted me (this was his first time in Gainesville, to catch this game) saying he was scared to come back given his luck. A little over a year later he returned for the Auburn football game and left disappointed again hahaha. One of my favorite unexpected memories in college, especially cause I don’t like baseball that much.
This was one of my first games in the Mac and I remember thinking how cool it was that our baseball team could have such hype and draw such a crowd. I was getting frustrated because the game was going on so long but when Langworthy made contact, the place erupted, then fell silent as the RF tried to catch it, then mayhem again.