GAINESVILLE — USF routed Bethune-Cookman 9-1 and Florida defeated Marist 10-6 as the NCAA baseball Gainesville Region opened Friday. The No. 2-seeded Bulls and top-seeded Gators meet at 7 tonight in a winners bracket game.
Florida (43-16) was in a tight game, leading 7-6 with a Marist runner on in the seventh when closer Michael Byrne came in. He retired the next six batters and got an eight-out save, getting some breathing room when catcher JJ Schwarz hit a three-run homer in the eighth.
For USF, Spoto High alumnus Chris Chatfield and fellow outfielder Duke Stunkel Jr. homered to lead a 14-hit barrage against Bethune-Cookman (33-24). Senior right-hander Phoenix Sanders (6-2) allowed five hits over seven scoreless innings to earn the victory. Stunkel, moved to the leadoff spot after batting second most of the season, finished 4-for-6.
Tallahassee: FSU loses
TALLAHASSEE — Ryan Flick's two-run double in the ninth led Tennessee Tech to a 3-1 victory over Florida State a Tallahassee Region opener.
The Golden Eagles, who are seeded fourth and making their first tournament appearance since 2009, tied it at 1 in the eighth on an RBI double by Nick Osborne. They had been held in check for 71/3 innings by FSU freshman Drew Parrish, who allowed two hits and struck out 12.
Tennessee Tech (41-19) faces third-seeded Auburn today. FSU (39-21) faces second-seeded UCF in an elimination game at noon today.
Quincy Nieporte gave FSU a 1-0 lead in the seventh with an RBI single.
Drew Carlton (3-4) took the loss.
AUBURN 7, UCF 4: Keegan Thompson had a season-high nine strikeouts for the Tigers. Robby Howell (10-1) took the loss. Kam Gellinger had a two-run homer in the ninth for UCF (40-21).
REGION NOTABLES: Nick Rivera hit a three-run homer to help Florida Gulf Coast beat Michigan 10-6 in Chapel Hill, N.C., in the program's first NCAA tournament game. Today, FGCU faces Davidson, which pounded ACC pitcher of the year J.B. Bukauskas and upset No. 2 national seed North Carolina 8-4. … Kentucky won its NCAA opener for the first time since 1988, 6-4 over Ohio in Lexington. … In Yale's 5-1 upset of Nebraska in the Corvallis (Ore.) Region, Scott Politz threw his seventh complete game of the season but only his second in a game that went nine innings. The Ivy League plays seven-inning doubleheaders. It's Yale's first appearance since 1992.
UF routs LSU in softball
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kelly Barnhill threw a complete-game shutout to lower her nation-best ERA to 0.34 and Florida rolled past LSU 7-0 to reach the Women's College World Series semifinals. The Gators (57-8) next play at 1 Sunday, needing one win to reach the championship round.
Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.