Biggest Game in Five Years

The Gator baseball team has had pretty good success in Kevin O'Sullivan's first two seasons, reaching the NCAA Tournament both times and the Super Regionals in 2009. But tonight O'Sullivan will coach in the biggest game the Gators have played in his three campaigns and the biggest since the 2005 Gators reached the finals of the College World Series.

Florida (39-12, 21-7) will take the field in Columbia, South Carolina looking to claim the SEC Championship. SEC titles are a big thing in Gator Nation and a win tonight would be the seventh for UF this school year. Winning an SEC Championship is bigger than any tournament game short of a chance to win a Super Regional or get a win in the CWS. Florida didn't reach that level a year ago, losing two straight to Southern Miss in the Super Regional making this game clearly the biggest for Sully and his squad.

Florida got to this opportunity with Thursday night's 3-2 win in which the Gators handed Carolina ace Blake Cooper (10-1) his first loss of the season. The Gators needed five and two thirds innings from the bullpen including two from closer Kevin Chapman to seal the win. Chapman picked up his ninth save of the season, tying him for eighth on UF's single-season list with Connor Falkenbach (‘05), Keith Ramsey (‘01) and Danny Wheeler (‘95).

For the biggest game the school has played in five years, O'Sullivan will turn to a rookie. UF will send freshman Hudson Randall (6-3, 2.96) to the mound where he'll be opposed by South Carolina junior Sam Dyson (5-4, 3.79). The Gamecocks (42-12, 20-8) need to win tonight and again on Saturday to claim the SEC crown.

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While the baseball team plays for the SEC Title tonight, the Gator softball team will begin its quest for a third straight trip to the College World Series. Tim Walton's team (43-8) will face Bethune Cookman (32-22) at 6:00 at Kathie Seashole Pressley Stadium in Gainesville. Prior to the Gator game, UCF will take on FIU.

If the Gators win they will face the winner of the UCF/FIU game Saturday at 1:00. Florida had trouble with both teams this season. The Gators won a 4-3 extra inning game at UCF, but lost to FIU 8-3 in Gainesville a month ago. The double elimination event concludes on Sunday.

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The Gator men's tennis team will play in the NCAA round of 16 this evening in Athens, Georgia. Andy Jackson's Gators will take on the Georgia Bulldogs on the ‘Dawgs home court. Florida (21-4) is the No. 6 seed in the event while Georgia (19-7) is No. 11.

UF is looking for its third win of the season over the Bulldogs after defeating them 4-0 in the ITA Indoor Championships in February and by a 5-2 score in Gainesville during the regular season in April.

Today's match is set for 6:00. If the Gators win they will face either Oklahoma or Texas in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

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The third ranked women's team is already in the quarterfinals after a 4-1 win over Ole Miss on Thursday. Florida (27-2) will face Miami (20-5) Saturday afternoon with a spot in the NCAA Semi-finals on the line. The Gators have not played the Hurricanes in three years.


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