Thursday May 30, 2013Florida Baseball Challenges Austin Peay To Begin NCAA Bloomington Regional
Florida (29-28) will begin its 29th NCAA Tournament appearance beginning on Friday afternoon at Bart Kaufman Field against Ohio Valley Conference Tourney Champion Austin Peay (45-13), who holds the nation’s longest active winning streak at 15 games. The Gators drew the third seed at the double-elimination event and will meet the second-seeded Govs at 1 p.m. on the first day of action. Top-seeded Indiana (43-14) of the Big Ten Conference will tangle with fourth-seeded Valparaiso (31-26) from the Horizon League in the nightcap at 7 p.m.
The game will be carried on ESPN3 with Jim Barbar and Rusty Ensor and can be accessed here. Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert will call the action for the Gator IMG Sports Network, live audio and stats will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also follow updates on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.
Junior Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (3-6, 4.03) will start the Gators’ opening-round game against Austin Peay. In two career NCAA starts against Bethune-Cookman (9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 K, 1 BB) and NC State (3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 5 K, 1 BB), the righty is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA and has 10 K in 12.2 IP. Junior left-hander Zach Hall (8-2, 4.68) will be on the hill for the Govs.
Quick Hits About the Gators
· Florida has made the NCAA Tournament in all six years of Kevin O’Sullivan’s tenure, the first time that the same Gator head coach has taken the team to six Regionals in a row.
· UF’s streak of six-straight NCAA appearances since 2008 ties the longest run in school history, accomplished during the 2000-05 seasons.
· Florida has played the toughest schedule in the nation, as its opponents have a combined record of 1,854-1,215 (.604) entering NCAA action.
· In its 28 previous Regional appearances, UF had been placed at sites within Florida 22 times (Gainesville-11, Coral Gables-7, Tallahassee-4).
· This year marks the seventh time that the Gators have played at a Regional outside of the Sunshine State. The squad has also traveled to North Carolina (1958, 1960, 1962), Minnesota (1977), Texas (2000) and Oklahoma (2004).
· All 64 teams preparing for NCAA Regionals have the same destination in mind: TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series. The Gators have reached the “Promised Land” eight times - 1988, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
· UF was a participant in the final CWS held at legendary Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in 2010, then christened TD Ameritrade Park Omaha by going 3-0 in its bracket to advance to the 2011 CWS Championship Finals, where it fell to South Carolina. Both the Gators and Gamecocks made it back to the CWS last season.
· Outfielder Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (.304) was the lone Florida player recognized by the SEC, as he earned a berth on the league’s All-Freshman squad.
· With freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (.304) now starting in center field after being the team’s shortstop, the Gators are 15-10 (.600) since his return to the lineup for the third game at Mississippi State. He is tied for team lead in batting average and has reached base in his last 16 games.
· Named to the NCBWA Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Watch List, sophomore RHP Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) (4-2, 2.49) has collected saves in seven of his last 10 relief appearances. His total of 12 saves is one shy of the school record shared by Danny Wheeler (1994) & Josh Fogg (1998).
· Twenty-five of UF’s 57 games this spring (.439) have come against ranked teams and the Gators’ 12 victories over top-25 squads is tied for the third-highest total in the league behind No. 1 LSU (15) and No. 2 Vanderbilt (15).
· Sophomore righty Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (5-3, 2.75) leads the SEC with 35 appearances and is third on UF with 48 strikeouts in 55.2 innings of work. In the most recent SEC statistics, the Gators are fifth in fielding percentage (.975), 10th in batting average (.268) and 12th in ERA (3.91).
Florida and Austin Peay have met five times previously, with each meeting during the regular season in Gainesville. The Gators hold a 3-2 (.600) edge in the encounters.
The teams split a mid-week set during the 1980 campaign, with the Govs taking a 9-6 decision on March 19 before the hosts countered the following day with a 15-5 win. Jay Bergman guided UF to a 40-16 record and the SEC Eastern Division title that season. The squads later played a three-game series from March 7-9, 2002, at McKethan Stadium. APSU collected a 12-8 victory in the opener over the sixth-ranked Gators before the Orange and Blue rebounded to take the next two contests by scores of 17-2 and 13-4. Florida went on to finish 46-19 overall in Pat McMahon’s initial season and reached the final game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional.
O’Sullivan Showing the Way
The 21st head baseball coach in school history, Kevin O’Sullivan was the seventh individual to take Florida to NCAAs and is the first to take the Gators to Regionals in his first six seasons.
Head Coach Tenure NCAA Appearances
Joe Arnold 1984-94 7 (84-85-88-89-91-92-94)
Kevin O’Sullivan 2008- 6 (2008-09-10-11-12-13)
Andy Lopez 1995-2001 5 (96-97-98-2000-01)
Pat McMahon 2002-07 4 (2002-03-04-05)
Jay Bergman 1976-81 3 (77-79-81)
Dave Fuller 1948-75 3 (58-60-62)
Jack Rhine 1982-83 1
O’Sullivan has a 21-11 (.656) NCAA Tournament mark, going 12-2 (.857) in Regionals, 6-3 (.667) in Super Regionals and 3-6 (.333) at the College World Series.
Since a 0-2 performance at the 2008 NCAA Tallahassee Regional, the Gators have captured 12 consecutive Regional contests, posting three-game sweeps at McKethan Stadium in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 to advance to Super Regional rounds, all of which were held at McKethan Stadium.