FLORIDA HOSTS MIAMI IN ANNUAL SERIES
The No. 17 Miami Hurricanes and No. 2 Florida Gators meet in the annual Sunshine State Showdown this weekend at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville.
Miami will send RHP Jesse Lepore (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound against UF RHP Alex Faedo (0-0, 7.71 ERA) in the series opener on Friday at 6:30 p.m. (ET). UM LHP Jeb Bargfeldt (1-0, 1.59 ERA) will face off against UF RHP Brady Singer (1-0, 1.80 ERA) on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. (ET). Miami LHP Michael Mediavilla (0-1, 8.10 ERA) will face Florida RHP Jackson Kowar (1-0, 1.59 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET). All three games will air on SEC Network+ and the Watch ESPN App.
Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan will be seeking his 400th career win. O’Sullivan owns a 399-189 (.679) record in his 10 seasons in Gainesville.
No. 17 Miami (2-1) opened the 2017 season with a series win over Rutgers in Coral Gables. Miami posted a 3-0 win in the season opener and claimed the series with an 8-4 win in game two. Rutgers avoided the sweep with a 17-4 win the series finale. Miami’s midweek game at FIU on Wednesday was rained out.
Freshman catcher Michael Amditis and sophomore infielder Romy Gonzalez led the Hurricanes on offense. Amditis hit .429 (3-for-7) with three RBIs in two starts. Gonzalez hit .364 (4-for-11) with three runs scored, one home run and three RBIs in the opening weekend.
No. 2 Florida swept William & Mary to open the 2017 season. UF posted a 5-4 come-from-behind win in the series opener and followed 8-1 and 11-6 wins to sweep the series. Florida suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday at Jacksonville. The Dolphins scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth in the walk-off win over the Gators. Wednesday’s game with JU was rained out.
Miami holds a 128-116-1 all-time series lead over the Gators. The Hurricanes have played in the NCAA Tournament every year since 1973 and is the only Division I school in the state of Florida to win the College World Series.
Florida has dominated the series since the arrival of O’Sullivan in 2008. UF is 24-11 against UM since the 2008 season. Florid has won the last two regular-season series. Florida was 5-0 against Miami in 2015, including a series sweep in Gainesville and two more wins at the College World Series in Omaha.
O’Sullivan’s success does not stop with the Hurricanes. O’Sullivan owns a 118-43 record against teams from the state of Florida as head coach of the Gators. He is 20-16 against rival Florida State, including a 2016 Super Regional series win that sent the Gators to Omaha.
O’Sullivan has eliminated Miami and Florida State six times from the NCAA Tournament. The Gators eliminated Miami from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 NCAA Regional and 2016 College World Series. UF has eliminated Florida State from the 2015 and 2016 NCAA Gainesville Super Regionals.
SEC SERIES PREVIEWS
Alabama (3-1) hosts Oral Roberts in a three-game series in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide defeated Southern Miss 12-5 on Wednesday night. Alabama is third in the SEC in home runs (6) and second in sacrifice bunts (3) through four games. In 2016, Oral Roberts claimed its 16th straight Summit League regular season conference championship and 17th consecutive conference tournament title leading to their 26th appearance in the NCAA Regionals behind a 38-21 record. ORU finished the regular season with a 4-1 record against teams from the Big 12 with wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State and a home-and-home sweep of Oklahoma State, and added road wins over SEC members Auburn and Mississippi State.
Arkansas (3-0) is back in action with a three-game series against Bryant at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks were dominant on the mound last weekend against Miami-Ohio. Arkansas leads the SEC with 0.67 ERA and .149 opponent batting average. Freshman OF Dominic Fletcher hit a 2-run homer in his debut last week and finished the weekend going 4-fo-12 (.333) with one home run and three RBIs. Bryant is playing it’s first-ever 3-game series against an SEC team. Bryant and Arkansas meet for the first time since the 2013 Manhattan (Kan.) Regional this weekend. The Bulldogs and Razorbacks played twice in the NCAA Tournament, splitting the two games. Bryant, the No. 3 seed, opened the regional by shocking the 15th-ranked Razorbacks, 4-1, to earn the first Division I NCAA victory in school history. The Razorbacks bounced back to eliminate Bryant two days later.
Auburn (4-1) entertains Holy Cross in a three-game series this weekend at Plainsman Park. The Tigers won three of four games with George Washington last weekend and rallied from a seven-run deficit to defeat Florida A&M 12-8 on Wednesday. Auburn posted back-to-back shutouts to open the season for the first time since 1928. Daniel Robert is hitting .474 (9-for-19) with six runs scored, one home run and three RBIs in five games. Holy Cross is the preseason favorite to win the Patriot League. Holy Cross won the 1952 College World Series when Jack Barry’s club defeated Missouri 8-4 in the championship game.
Georgia (1-3) heads to Statesboro for a weekend series at Georgia Southern. The Bulldogs have struggled early this season, particularly on the mound. Georgia is last in the SEC in ERA (9.82), opponent batting average (.297) and runs allowed (38).
Kentucky (0-4) will face Saint Joseph’s, Old Dominion and Delaware at the ODU Tournament in Norfolk. UK is off to its worst start since opening the 1999 season with an 0-5 record. Kentucky’s four losses have been decided by five total runs.
LSU (4-1) hosts Maryland in a three-game series at Alex Box Stadium. LSU junior Greg Deichmann leads the SEC with three home runs and eight RBIs this season. Senior LHP Jared Poche’ tossed a 7-inning no-hitter last weekend against Army.
Ole Miss (4-0) had an impressive opening week with three wins over No. 8 East Carolina and a midweek blowout win over Arkansas State. Ole Miss hosts No. 23 UNC Wilmington this weekend in Oxford. The Rebels are 4-0 for the eight time under Mike Bianco. Freshman Thomas Dillard (.583) ranks third in the SEC in hitting. Junior infielder Will Golsan (.533) ranks sixth in the SEC in hitting.
Miss. State (3-2) will host Indiana State and Marist in a three-team round robin at Dudy Noble Field. MSU split a pair of games with Texas Tech and won two games with Western Illinois last weekend. MSU dropped a 13-8 game to Morehead State on Tuesday night in Starkville. Morehead State scored 10 runs in the ninth inning for the win. Indiana State played in the 1989 NCAA Regional at Dudy Noble Field.
Missouri (3-1) posted a 7-6 win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the opening game of the Kleberg Bank Classic on Thursday night in Corpus Christi. The Tigers will face Houston, Texas A&M-CC and Illinois the remainder of the weekend.
South Carolina (3-2) hosts Wright State this weekend. South Carolina dropped a 6-5 decision to Kansas State on Thursday in Columbia. Wright State won the Horizon League championship last season and finished runner up to Louisville at the NCAA Louisville Regional. Wright State opened the season with a series win at Clemson last weekend.
Tennessee (3-1) continues its 7-game season opening road trip at the Tony Gwynn Classic in San Diego. The Vols will face Seton Hall and San Diego State on Friday.
Texas A&M (4-0) swept Bowling Green on the opening weekend and picked up a 12-inning midweek win over Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday. Texas A&M hosts Pepperdine this weekend in College Station. The Aggies and Waves are meeting for the second straight year. Texas A&M leads the SEC with seven triples and 56 runs scored through four games. The Aggies rank second in the league in batting average (.358), slugging percentage (.570) and on-base percentage (.470). Senior OF Nick Chourby leads the SEC with a .625 batting average. Pepperdine opened the season with a three-game sweep of Saint Joseph’s last weekend in Malibu.
Vanderbilt (3-1) hosts Illinois-Chicago in a 3-game series at Hawkins Field. The Commodores and Flames are meeting for the fourth time in the last five years. Vandy opened the season with a series win over San Diego and then defeated Evansville in its home opener this week.