Gainesville Regional matchups are set starting Friday
[6-2-21, 11 a.m. Updated weekend matchups below]
Florida, the No. 15 overall seed, will host South Florida, Miami and South Alabama in this weekend's Gainesville Regional, the NCAA baseball committee announced Monday.
The Gators (38-20), who dropped a spot to No. 14 in the latest D1Baseball Top 25 rankings released Tuesday, will play region four seed South Florida (28-27), which earned the NCAA tournament berth by winning the American Athletic Conference tournament, at noon Friday at Florida Ballpark, while two seed Miami (32-19) will play three seed South Alabama (33-20) at 5 p.m.
A possible matchup Saturday is UF vs. Miami, which took the season-opening series 2-1 in the debut of Florida Ballpark in February. Game times for Saturday and Sunday will be announced soon. The Gators have defeated the 'Canes in their last eight postseason games dating to 2009. The park will be at full capacity this weekend.
Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said Saturday the Gators will enter the NCAA tournament in better shape after going 3-1 in the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala., last week.
“Starting pitching has been outstanding all week," he said. "We swung the bats some. I think we learned a lot about our team. Getting Mac (Guscette) back solidified some things behind the plate, made the decision to put Nathan (Hickey) at third. So I think we learned a lot about our team over the past 10 days, and I think it puts us in a much better position moving forward for a regional."
The Gainesville Regional is paired with the Austin Regional, which features No. 2 overall seed Texas (42-15), Southern (20-28), Fairfield (37-3) and Arizona State (32-20). The top eight national seeds are assured of hosting super regionals if they win their regionals.
The top eight seeds of the 64-team tournament start with Arkansas (46-10), followed by Texas (42-15), Tennessee (45-16), Vanderbilt (40-15), Arizona (40-15), TCU (40-17), Mississippi State (40-15) and Texas Tech (36-15). Seeds 9-16 in order are Stanford, Notre Dame, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, East Carolina, Oregon, Florida and Louisiana Tech.
The Razorbacks, the regular-season SEC champs, won all 10 of their league series and wrapped up their first conference tournament championship Sunday.
SEC schools earning bids include Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. At least nine SEC teams have earned NCAA Tournament bids in each of the last three tournaments.
Florida State (30-22) is making its 43rd consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, which is the nation’s longest active streak. It is also the 58th overall trip to a regional for the Seminoles, who are the No. 3 seed in the Oxford Regional hosted by Ole Miss. FSU will face second-seeded Southern Miss at 3 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.
Regional winners advance to best-of-three super regionals, and those eight winners go on to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha starting June 19.
Vanderbilt will be going for its third national championship since 2014 after winning the title two years ago. There was no tournament in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Florida earned a spot in an NCAA Regional for the 36th time in program history and the 17th time it has hosted.
Double elimination at Florida Ballpark
Game 1: Florida vs. USF, noon, SEC Network
Game 2: Miami vs. South Alabama, 5 p.m., ACC Network
Game Three: 12 p.m. - Loser Game One vs. Loser Game Two
Game Four: 4 p.m. - Winner Game One vs. Winner Game Two
Game Five: 12 p.m. - Loser Game Four vs. Winner Game Three
Game Six: 6 p.m. - Winner Game Four vs. Winner Game Five
Game Seven (if necessary): 1 p.m. - Winner Game Six vs. Loser Game Six