Tampa's Stephen Locke and Preston Tucker help lead Gators to win over Miami in NCAA baseball regional
GAINESVILLE - In 10 NCAA regionals over the course of the history of Florida baseball, the Gators have never advanced out of a regional when Miami is among the teams they've faced.
Florida took one step toward changing that history on Saturday night.
The Gators rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to earn an 8-2 victory over the Hurricanes in front of more than 4,000 fans at McKethan Stadium. It was Florida's 27th come-from-behind victory of the season.
Miami (37-21) will play Jacksonville University (37-21) Sunday at 1 p.m. The Gators (41-20) will play the winner of that game at 6:30 p.m.
Florida pitcher, and Tampa native, Stephen Locke made his third career NCAA start on Saturday night. He pitched 7 1/3 innings, gave up six hits, two runs (zero earned), had three strikeouts and one walk. Locke threw 102 pitches and is now 5-2 on the season. In 12 starts over the past two years at McKethan Stadium, Locke is 8-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
Freshman first baseman Preston Tucker, also a native of Tampa, tied the single-season record for RBI (80), set by Ryan Shealy in 2002.
Miami took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, but the Gators answered with a four-run third inning. Miami threatened with two on base in the bottom of the fifth, but the inning ended in a 6-4-3 double play.
The Gators scored two more runs in the sixth inning. Former Armwood standout Brandon McArthur's double scored Josh Adams. McArthur has a team-leading 13 doubles this season. Reserve catcher Teddy Foster's single scored another run.
Right fielder Jonathan Pigott's home run in the seventh gave the Gators a 7-2 lead and Florida added another run in the eighth.