Top-seeded Florida (42-20) used a 22-hit offensive barrage to overpower second-seeded Miami (Fla.) (38-22), 16-5, and claim the NCAA Gainesville Regional on Sunday night at McKethan Stadium. With the victory, the Gators advance to next weekend’s Super Regional for the first time since 2005 and the third time in the past six years. UF will host the winner of the Atlanta Regional, Southern Miss (38-24).
Freshman Preston Tucker was named the Regional’s Most Outstanding Player after going 9-for-13 (.692) over the three games with six RBI, two homers and a slugging percentage of 1.231. The rookie was 4-for-5 in the triumph over the Hurricanes tonight and notched three more RBI to give him 83 on the campaign, a single-season Florida record. The SEC’s Co-Freshman of the Year is hitting .357 and belted his team-leading 14th homer with a two-run jack as part of a seven-run, fifth-inning explosion.
All nine Florida starters contributed at least one hit, while eight of them had multi-hit efforts. The Gators were an eye-popping 22-for-43 (.517) in the game and registered five extra-base hits. After starter Patrick Keating, the trio of freshman Nick Maronde, junior Tony Davis and junior Billy Bullock each threw a scoreless inning. Joining Tucker on the All-Tournament team from the Gators were Josh Adams (second base), Matt den Dekker (outfield), senior Stephen Locke, Brandon McArthur (third base), Mike Mooney (shortstop) and Jonathan Pigott (outfield).