Gator baseball team opens NCAA regional play against Bethune-Cookman
It will be an all-Florida NCAA baseball regional this weekend at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville.
At 1 p.m., Miami (36-20) will play Jacksonville (36-20). No. 10 Florida (39-20) will play Bethune-Cookman (32-26) at 6:30 p.m.
The No.8-seed Gators are the top seed in the four-team regional. Florida is hosting its first regional since 2005, the year the Gators went to the College World Series.
Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan, said despite the perception that the Gainesville Regional is tougher than some others, his focus is on the Gators, not the other teams.
"We have to play well to advance in this tournament,'' O'Sullivan said. "I really don’t put much thought into who is playing in the Regional. I know some people think ours is tougher than others but I feel like they are all tough at this point in the year. Hopefully, we are just going to play consistent, pitch well, get some timely hits and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Gators have faced all three teams in the regional in the regular season, but Florida senior Brandon McArthur, of Seffner, said none of that matters now.
“No matter what happened during the last game of the SEC Tournament or the first game of the regular season, it doesn’t matter no,'' McArthur said. "In our eyes, the first game of the season is on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Nothing that happened before really matters.”
O'Sullivan said the Gators are looking forward to beginning NCAA play on their home field.
“I think for our players it is good because we are more comfortable at home and have played better here, so I am hoping that will continue this weekend,'' he said.