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UF-FSU: game, not opponent, matters

It's come to this for Florida and Florida State at the College World Series. After having suffered opening-round losses, both schools are a game away from elimination. Both meet a familiar opponent today in Omaha, Neb.

Each other.

"We'd like to eliminate them; they'd like to eliminate us," said Joe Arnold, coach of the Gators. "We're not ready to go home."

When the top-seeded Seminoles (57-13) and No. 5 Gators (49-20) face off today at 4:37 p.m., it will be their fifth meeting this season. FSU won three of those games.

"I think both clubs are looking at it not in terms of who they're playing, but in light of the circumstance," said FSU coach Mike Martin. "But that's a given."

Of late, it was a given that both teams were following similar paths. Both advanced to the same bracket in the CWS after sweeping their regionals as the hosts and No. 1 seeds.

And both have suddenly developed pitching problems.

Florida's Marc Valdes and FSU's Tim Davis _ today's projected starters _ will have to last longer than their teammates did in Friday's opening round.

John Burke, the Gators' All-American, gave up a home run, six hits and three runs in four innings in a 8-1 loss to No. 4 LSU. The Seminoles' Roger Bailey lasted 4 innings in a 6-3 loss to No. 8 Fresno State.

Valdes (12-4, 2.81 ERA) led the Florida staff in wins, while Davis (9-1, 2.53 ERA), the Seminoles' best middle reliever, has started once this season.

"I don't ever look at only one game as a pressure game," Martin said of playing the Gators. "If you do, it puts too much pressure on the kids. Our guys are going to have enough incentive because they're playing in the College World Series."

Saturday's games

Creighton 8, Clemson 4

OMAHA, Neb. _ Scott Stahoviak had three hits and two RBI, and Steve Hinton drove in three runs, powering seventh-seeded Creighton to an 8-4 victory over No. 2 Clemson in first-round play Saturday.

The game matched two of the nation's top offensive teams. Creighton led the country with a .361 batting average and Clemson topped all scorers with a 10-run average.

Creighton (50-20) rewarded the fourth-largest crowd in CWS history with 11 hits off six Clemson pitchers and the 16,244 in attendance made plenty of noise for their hometown team in its first national championships.

Creighton pitcher Mike Heathcott scattered seven hits and earned a school record 15th win against one loss. He allowed Clemson runners as far as second base in only one inning.

The Bluejays advance to Monday's 7:37 p.m. winners-bracket game against the winner of the Wichita State-Long Beach State contest late Saturday night. Clemson (60-9) drops to an elimination game at 4:07 p.m. Monday against the Wichita-Long Beach loser.

Jacksonville State wins

Division II championship

MONTGOMERY, Ala. _ Jacksonville State broke open a tight game with an 11-run sixth inning Saturday and coasted to its second straight NCAA Division II championship, routing Missouri Southern 20-4.

The Gamecocks (41-12) pounded out 20 hits against six Missouri Southern pitchers to give coach Rudy Abbott his 700th career victory.

Missouri Southern (48-13) took a short-lived lead with two runs in the first, but Paul Hawk's sacrifice fly in the fifth put Jacksonville State ahead 3-2.

Late Friday: Manatee CC

gains JUCO final game

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. _ Robin Jennings led a home run derby for Manatee Community College as the Lancers defeated Glendale, Ariz., 10-8 Friday night to complete their battle out of the loser's bracket to win a berth in the championship game of the National Junior College World Series.

Manatee (46-6) will meet Howard, Texas (57-11) late Saturday night for the title after a week's play in the original 10-team field.

The Lancers hit five homers for eight runs to reach the title game.

_ Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.