Road to Omaha goes through Gainesville

Florida baseball knew it would be hosting a regional before the tournament field was announced Monday, but the selection committee delivered an extra bonus. Someone will have to eliminate the Gators in their own building or they're going to the College World Series.

Florida was given the eighth national seed, meaning they would host a Super Regional next week should they survive the Regional in Gainesville. They would host the winner of the Atlanta regional, which has Georgia Tech as the top seed.

Florida's opponents in week one will all be very familiar, as it's an all Sunshine State affair composed of teams UF has played preiously this year. They open with Bethune Cookman at 6:30 Friday, while No. 2 seed Miami gets Jacksonville to begin the regional. The Gators defeated Bethune Cookman 12-7 in their one meeting earlier this season and are 3-0 all time against them in postseason play.

The Hurricanes on the other hand have been a roadblock to Omaha numerous times over the years for Florida, most recently in 2004. Miami swept this year's series at McKethan Stadium, although that was just the second weekend of the season. Florida saw Jacksonville once this season and defeated the Dolphins 7-4. Should Florida win their opener, they would face the winner of the UM-JU game at 6:30 Saturday night.

"It will be a challenging field and we are looking forward to facing a talented Bethune-Cookman team on Friday." said UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan.

BCC is 32-26 for the year but has some quality arms to work with and are playing well of late. In fact, they took two of three from Miami earlier this month before winning the MEAC tournament to reach the NCAA field. The Wildcats will likely start their ace Hiram Burgos against UF, although their coach Mervyl Melendez said he would wait until later in the week to make that decision. Burgos is a senior righthander who's 6-3 on the season.

Eight SEC teams reached the field, the most of any conference along with the Big 12. LSU was the only other SEC squad to receive a national seed. FSU, which will host a regional, was the only other state of Florida school to make the tournament besides the four playing in Gainesville.


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