Gators Pound Miami, Advance to Super Regional

The Gator Baseball team completed a three-game sweep of the NCAA Regional in Gainesville with a dominating 16-5 win over the Miami Hurricanes to advance to the Super Regional next weekend.

In two games with their traditional nemesis in NCAA tournament play, the Gators outscored the boys from Coral Gables 24-7, which is similar to the 26-3 margin the football team enjoyed over the Hurricanes back in September.

Florida grabbed control of this one from the very beginning. The Gators, playing as the "visitor" in their home stadium, scored five first inning runs and never looked back. Avery Barnes started the game by drawing a walk and went to third on a double by Jonathon Pigott. Preston Tucker blooped a single into centerfield to score the first run. The RBI was Tucker's 81st of the season, establishing a new UF single season record. Matt den Dekker hit a sacrifice fly for the second run of the inning and Brandon McArthur and Teddy Foster followed with RBI hits. Miami changed pitchers and Buddy Munroe delivered an RBI grounder to make it 5-0.

Miami scored in the bottom of the first, but the real entertainment came after the inning. Miami coach Jim Morris, furious that a hit batter was ruled to have intentionally gotten in the way, threw a temper tantrum after being tossed from the contest. His antics may have been designed to light a fire under his squad, but it failed to do so.

The Gators answered with single runs in the second and third to make it 7-1 Florida after three.

Florida seemingly made it a laugher in the fifth inning by scoring seven more times. Barnes singled home a run and Pigott singled in two more before Tucker drilled a two-run homer to make it 12-1. Josh Adams also homered and when all was said and done it was 14-1.

Miami got something going in the bottom of the inning and Jason Haggerty drilled a three run homer to make it 14-4. The ‘Canes eventually chased Florida starter Alex Panteliodis and added another run to make it 14-5.

The Gators had to feel good about a nine-run lead with four innings to go, but they felt better after tacking on two more in the sixth. Adams walked with the bases loaded for one run and den Dekker's sac fly delivered the other.

The rest of the game was academic as the Gators cruised to the victory and for the first time won a Regional with Miami in the field. It may not erase the sting of 1985 and other years where Miami was always better than the Gators, but it's a start.

The Gators will host either Georgia Tech or Southern Miss in the Super Regional next weekend. Details will be announced in the coming days.

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