Regional 2004: A Look at the Competition

Two conference champions and A-10 at-large Central Florida travel to Tallahassee to try thier luck against FSU and each other in NCAA Regional action this weekend. All three have played in big games against tough competition earlier this season.

Bethune Cookman:

Winners of the last six MEAC championships, the Wildcats will obviously face considerably tougher competition this weekend. Against UCF, BCC was was swept by scores of 9-1, 8-0, 7-6 and 9-4. The 'Cats also dropped four games to Jacksonville, FSU's first-round opponent a season ago. Juan Figueroa has started every game at first and leads the team in BA (.387), honmers (7) and RBI (57). Francisco Gomez has a 7-1 record on the mound and threw BCC's only shutout.

Central Florida:

UCF's resume is a little more impressive. The Knights have topped LSU at home(No. 2 at the time) and on the roadClemson twice (No. 13 at the time). At one point, they won 22 of 25 contests. But UCF faded late, losing a pair at Notre Dame and falling out of the A-10 tourney after consecutive losses to Troy State and FAU. Central Florida's name had been mentioned in speculation as a Regional site host by several sources before thier late-season slide. Kyle Bono (8-1, 6 CG, 5 SO, 1.79) and Matt Fox (13-2, 6 CG, 3 SO, 1.99) anchor a strong staff.

Oklahoma State:

The Big 12 Champion Cowboys were strong in conference but didn't take on much otherwise. OSU won the Stetson Invitational in February with wins over the Hatters, USF and Virginia Tech. Like FSU, the Cowboys were swept in a series in Tempe against Arizona State. Spencer Grogan leads the Big 12 in innings pitched (125.2), complete games (7) and is tied for first in wins (12). The Cowboys have three players from the state of Florida. Grogan is from Cantonement, Chris Gutierrez (Orlando) chose OSU over UCF and DeWayne Carver is from the Gainesville area. The Cowboys have won at least one NCAA tournament game in its last 21 appearances.

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