Last five series:
Florida Miami vs Bama 2-1 vs Jacksonville 3-0 vs Ole Miss 0-3 vs North Carolina 1-2 vs Tennessee 1-2 vs Ball State 3-0 vs SEC Tourney 2-2 vs Long Beach State 3-0 vs NCAA Regionals 3-0 at NCAA Regionals 3-0
For the fourth year in a row, the NCAA's version of Cupid determined that a hint of Blue and Green were needed to compliment his Orange arrow. State rivals Florida (43-20) and Miami (47-11) will battle, once again, for a berth in the College World Series in Omaha.
Familiarity is a given. The Gators know every nook and cranny in Mark Light Stadium. When Florida takes the field on Friday, it will mark 11th game they have played in Coral Gables in the past three years. Then again, the Gators have nothing on the ‘Canes. Miami rarely ever leaves Coral Gables. The Hurricanes have played 47 of their 58 games at home. Nine other games were played in The Sunshine State. The only time these homebodies left the state was for a three game series in Atlanta against Georgia Tech during the first week of April. That will change when Miami enters the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Hurricanes have won 10 games in a row. They lost a three game series 2-1 to North Carolina, who was edged out of a Super Regional by South Carolina in Columbia this past weekend. Miami swept a three game series in Coral Gables against Super Regional team Long Beach State 3-0. The 49ers upset Stanford twice in Palo Alto and will take on former Florida Coach Andy Lopez' Arizona Wildcats in Long Beach.
Florida is 6-4 in its' last ten games, losing twice to Super Regional team Vanderbilt (in the SEC Tournament) and twice to Tennessee in Knoxville. The Gators beat up Central Connecticut State and UCLA by a combined 27-4.
GATORS IN A HURRICANE
The Gators have played the ‘Canes even throughout the past three years. However, recent tournament results have a distinct taste of Ibis. It's a storybook tale...Florida goes into losers bracket and plays their way through for a date with the winners bracket champion. Miami wins first two games and advances as the winners bracket champion. Florida then beats the Hurricanes forcing a championship game. Florida loses the championship game and Miami moves on to the Super Regionals.
Miami leads the series...2-1
The Gators won the first game behind the superb pitching of Justin Hoyman and Darren O'Day. The duo shutout the ‘Canes on a two-hitter. Adam Davis hit a solo shot in the fifth. Jeff Corsoletti smacked a two-run home run over the left field fence in the ninth to add to the Florida lead. Miami won the second game 4-1. Stephen Porter and Bryan Ball pitched well enough to win, but the Gators left nine men on base, compared to the Hurricanes one. Miami pounded seven different Florida pitchers for a 19-5 victory. The Hurricanes ripped 23 hits in the game.
Teams split the series 2-2
The teams split a pair of games during the regular season. The Gators lost the first game 9-2, but came back to win the second 5-3. Florida is awarded a berth in the NCAA Regionals in Coral Gables. After losing the first game to Florida Atlantic, the Gators battled back through the losers bracket. Naturally, Miami was waiting with an undefeated record. The Gators smashed the ‘Canes 15-5 forcing a winner takes all for the Regional championship. Trailing 13-9, Florida could only come up with one run in the ninth. Miami's 13-10 victory sent them to the Super Regionals.
Florida won overall series 3-2
During the regular season, the Gators sweep Miami in Coral Gables 12-9 and 6-2. However, Florida is sent to Coral Gables to play in the NCAA Tourney. The Canes play Florida in the winners bracket of the Coral Gables Regional and win 7-2. The Gators pound Bethune-Cookman 21-10 and beat Miami 11-10, forcing a true championship game. With Florida leading 7-5, Miami rallies for three runs in the bottom of the ninth. With one run in, Jim Burt doubled to the gap in left center off Jimmy Ramshaw scoring both baserunners, thus crushing the Gators dreams of advancing to the Super Regionals.
FLORIDA IN OKLAHOMA CITY
The Gators were more than just OK in Oklahoma. Florida swept through the Oklahoma City Regional like a tornado. In three games, the Gators won by an average margin of nearly eight runs per game. Four Gators (Tommy Boss, Jeff Corsoletti, Ben Harrison, and C.J. Smith) were selected to the All-Tournament Team. Harrison was named the Most Outstanding Performer. Florida simply overpowered little Central Connecticut State (12-1) in the opening round and blanked unarmed UCLA (11-0) in the finals. Their only real contest was a winners bracket win over UCLA 4-3.
Miami offense vs Florida pitching
First baseman Jim Burt leads the Hurricanes in average, slugging percentage, and RBI's. Burt was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the Coral Gables Regional, as he went 10 of 15 (.666) with two doubles, two home runs, and 11 RBI's. His double in the ninth in 2002 eliminated the Gators from the Super Regionals. In the first game on that day, Burt ripped a three-run home run that sent the game into extra innings. Florida would eventually win that game in the 11th, only to lose to Burt in the championship game. His Dad, a former New York Giants noseguard, traded insults with Florida fans in the McKethan Stadium stands.
Burt certainly caused a lot of headaches for the Gators in February. He hit at a .363 clip and drove in three runs. Catcher Erick San Pedro also did well against the Florida pitching staff in his limited opportunities. Making the most of it, San Pedro ripped a home run and drove in four runs while going 2 for 9.
The ‘Canes have five guys who can leg it out. Ryan Braun, John Jay, Paco Figueroa, Joey Hooft, and Brian Barton have combined for 91 steals in 118 attempts (77%). They tested the arm of Florida catcher
|Erick San Pedro/c||.333||59||.633||51||12||35||1/3|
Tommy Boss was latest award recipient among the Florida pitching staff. The Boss was selected to the Oklahoma City Regional All-Tournament Team. He shut down UCLA and played a key role in punching the Gators ticket to Coral Gables. Tommy and I slightly disagree on what has led to his marked improvement.
"I've improved my location. I'm locating my breaking ball better. I've gotten a feel back for pitching and locating that third pitch." Boss said. No argument here. But, more importantly I believe that he has improved because...The Boss has been challenging hitters. He no longer leaves the ball over the middle or outside corner of the plate. He's challenging guys with pitches at their fists, jamming them up and backing them off of the plate.
The Boss struggled like most of the staff against the Hurricanes in February, But, that was an eternity ago to him. He enjoys pitching in Mark Light and is looking forward to the challenge. "Like Ben said, they've ruined our season the past couple of years. But, we're looking forward to playing them down there. Their fans make it a great atmosphere to play in. The mound is high, which is an advantage for a pitcher."
Sidearm specialist Connor Falkenbach eliminated the SEC Eastern Division Champion Georgia with a masterful three hit shutout. The All-SEC Tournament selection followed that up with a nice outing against UCLA. It was a game the Gators won 4-3.
Hoyman seems to pitch his best in big games. For instance, the 6'3 200 Brevard Community College transfer threw a sensational one-hit shutout against Miami. He struck out seven Hurricanes in 7.1 innings. They'll be eagerly awaiting him this time around. And you can bet that Hoyman will rise to the challenge. Against South Carolina, Hoyman held the Gamecocks to two hits and one earned run in six innings, before having to depart the game with a blister on his middle finger. Good competition.
The junior from Cocoa has been Florida's best pitcher in the brief McMahon era. He is 10-1 and has a 2.71 ERA. Opponents are batting a pathetic .215 against him.