The North Carolina Tar Heels received an at-large NCAA bid to the Gainesville Regional on Monday afternoon. They will play second seeded Long Beach State in their first game in the NCAA Baseball Regional on the Road To Omaha. Long Beach State and Carolina make up two of the four teams in the regional; the remaining two are host Florida and fourth seeded College of Charleston. Today, we will take a look at Florida and learn some more about the Gators.
Team Name: Florida Gators
Seed: First in Gainesville Regional
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Distance from the Regional: 0 miles- The Gators have home field advantage.
Best series wins: Home against LSU from 3/29-3/30, Away against South Carolina from 4/11-4/13
— Gator Baseball (@GatorZoneBB) May 27, 2014
Top Three Hitters
Harrison Bader: .333(batting average)/.412(on-base percentage)/.432(slugging percentage), two homers, 24 RBIs
Taylor Gushue: .323/.385/.477, six homers, 49 RBIs
Braden Mattson: .276/.341/.328, one homer, 28 RBIs
Kirby Snead: 1.79 ERA, 3-0 W-L record, 40.1 innings pitched, 1 start
Logan Shore: 1.99 ERA, 7-3 W-L record, 90.2 innings pitched, 14 starts
Danny Young: 2.23 ERA, 5-0 W-L record, 48.1 innings pitched, 25 appearances
Aaron Rhodes: 2.48 ERA, 5-2 W-L record, 54.1 innings pitched, 20 appearances
Ryan Harris: 3.00 ERA, five saves, 36.0 innings pitched, 27 appearances
Florida is the number two national seed after winning the SEC regular season title. In a conference that put 10 teams into the NCAA Tournament, that is a very impressive feat. The Gators did lose in the SEC Championship game to LSU, but their strength of schedule (Florida had one of the hardest schedules in the country) and strong regular season still propelled them to a national seed.
Catcher Taylor Gushue had a great quote to sum up the Gator’s success this season. In an article on Gatorzone.com, Gushue said,
“We just know how to win, that’s it. We’re not going to impress you with a whole bunch of ‘wow’ factors, but take our 40-win season and the hardest schedule in the nation to be your ‘wow’ factor. It’s just one of those things that we just got done this year.”
The Gators are a very good baseball team, and UNC will have to get past them in order to advance out of Gainesville to the Super Regional. With a homefield advantage, experience and talent up and down the roster, Florida is going to be tough to beat.