Baseball Earns No. 1 Seed for NCAA Regional

The University of Florida baseball team will appear in its 22nd NCAA Regional this week at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, the NCAA announced Monday on ESPN2. The Gators received an at-large and is one of a NCAA record nine-SEC teams to receive bids. Five SEC schools were also selected to host regional tournaments (LSU, Georgia, Arkansas, Ole Miss, South Carolina). The regional will run from June 4-6, 2004 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Florida has made a NCAA regional for a school record fifth straight season.

The Gators will enter the four-team regional as the No. 1 seed and will face No. 4 seed Central Connecticut State (41-15-1) Friday in the regional. No. 2 seed and host Oklahoma (37-22) will open play against No. 3 seed UCLA (33-27) Friday. Central Connecticut received the automatic berth by winning the Northeast Conference tournament title, while Oklahoma earned an at-large berth out of the Big 12 after winning the regular season title. UCLA received an at-large berth out of the Pac-10.

The winner of the double elimination regional advances to a best two-of-three weekend NCAA Super Regional, pitting two regional winners. The Coral Gables Regional winner has been paired with the Oklahoma City Regional winner consisting of host Miami (Fla.), North Carolina State, Florida Atlantic and St. Bonaventure

"This is the beginning of a new season for our club and all four teams in the regional. We are excited about the challenges that lie ahead," said Florida head coach Pat McMahon. "We are very pleased that we received the No. 1 seed and will travel to Oklahoma."

Florida (40-20, 17-13 SEC) will enter NCAA Regional play with 40 victories for the second time in the last three years. UF is 11-8 against ranked opponents this season and went 27-6 at McKethan Stadium during the regular season. The Gators finished the SEC Tournament 2-2 and came within one out of playing a second semifinal game against Vanderbilt for a chance to play the SEC Tournament championship game. UF had impressive tournament wins over two top 20 teams as they defeated No. 5 LSU 5-4 in 10 innings and No. 18 Georgia 7-0. UF also went 5-3 against teams within the state of Florida.

Florida has now been selected to compete in eight of the last nine NCAA Baseball Tournaments. The Gators have advanced to the College World Series two times during that period - 1996 and 1998. The Gators will appear in their 22nd all-time NCAA Regional and have appeared in four College World Series.

FLORIDA NCAA POSTSEASON NOTES

The regional berth is Florida's 22nd all-time berth. The fifth straight NCAA Regional appearance is a school record

The Gators have advanced to the College World Series four times (1988, 1991, 1996, 1998).

Florida is 53-44 overall in twenty-one NCAA Regional events.

Head coach Pat McMahon will be appearing in his eight straight NCAA Regional and ninth in 12 years as a head coach.

In 25 years as a college assistant, associate and head coach McMahon has made 19 regional appearances.

McMahon is 20-18 all-time in NCAA Regional play. Florida has never played Central Connecticut or Oklahoma in the history of the program. The Gators played UCLA twice at a neutral site in 1991 and split a pair of games with the Bruins.


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