GAINESVILLE — Former Plant High standout Peter Alonso hit two home runs in his first game since returning from a broken hand as host and top national seed Florida beat Bethune-Cookman 9-3 Friday in the first day of the NCAA baseball tournament's Gainesville Region.
Alonso hadn't played since May 13, when a bone in his left hand was broken by a 95 mph fastball from Vanderbilt's Jordan Sheffield. On Friday, Alonso delivered a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the fourth, giving him 11 on the season. He also singled in the eighth.
UF ace Logan Shore (11-0) allowed two earned runs in 61/3 innings. Tyler Norris surrendered six runs, four earned, in 22/3 for the Wildcats, the MEAC tournament champion.
The Gators (48-13), who improved to 31-0 all time against Bethune-Cookman, face Connecticut today at 6 p.m. in the winner's bracket of the double-elimination region. UConn, the No. 3 seed and American Athletic Conference tournament champion, defeated Georgia Tech 7-6. Bethune-Cookman (29-26) faces the Yellow Jackets today at noon in an elimination game.
Tallahassee Region: Dylan Busby had three hits and matched a career high with five runs batted in as Florida State beat Alabama State 18-6.
Quincy Nieporte and Taylor Walls also had three hits and two RBIs as the Seminoles (38-20) had seven runs in the first and seventh innings. Drew Carlton (7-3) went 62/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits.
Top-seeded FSU faces Southern Mississippi at 6 tonight. No. 4 Alabama State (38-20) takes on South Alabama in an elimination game.
Alabama State pitcher Joseph Comacho, who was unbeaten in his previous 36 starts (31-0), didn't make it out of the first inning.
Southern Miss defeated South Alabama 14-2 to set up its meeting with the Seminoles.
Coral Gables region: No. 1 seed and host Miami survived a strong challenge to defeat Stetson 4-2. Randy Batista scored the go-ahead run for the Hurricanes (46-11) on Walker Sheller's wild pitch in the eighth. John Fussell and Will Mackenzie each had two hits for the Hatters (29-30), who tied it 2-2 with a run in the top of the eighth. No. 3 seed Long Beach State defeated Florida Atlantic 5-1 and faces UM at 7 tonight; FAU (38-18) faces Stetson at 1.
Vanderbilt pitcher drowns
NASHVILLE — Vanderbilt freshman pitcher Donny Everett drowned while fishing in Tennessee a day before the Commodores were slated to open the NCAA tournament. He was 19. The Coffee County Sheriff's Department said in a statement that Everett was with two teammates and two other people when he tried to swim across Normandy Lake, about 60 miles southeast of Nashville, on Thursday. Divers with the county rescue squad found Everett just before 7 p.m. Thursday in 25 feet of water some 15 feet from shore. The Commodores were scheduled to go ahead with Friday's NCAA tournament opener at home against Xavier, but it was rained out and rescheduled for noon today in Nashville.
Football: The Big 12 is bringing back its championship game in 2017, regardless of whether the conference expands from its current 10 members. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said university presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to approve a title game which is expected to generate an additional $27 million to $28 million per season.
Softball: No. 8 seed Florida State faces No. 12 UCLA today in an elimination game (noon, ESPN) at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. No. 3 seed Oklahoma defeated No. 6 Alabama 3-0 in the opener for both. No. 2 Michigan faced No. 10 LSU in a late game.