The No. 13 national seed Gators will welcome Oklahoma, Liberty and Central Michigan to Condron Ballpark this weekend for the NCAA Gainesville Regional, the selection committee announced on Monday.
The regional will be a double-elimination tournament from Friday through Sunday, with an additional game to be played on Monday if necessary. The winner will take on the winner of the Blacksburg Regional, which features No. 4 national seed Virginia Tech, Gonzaga, Columbia and Wright State, in a Super Regional for the right to advance to the College World Series.
Game one between Oklahoma and Liberty is set to begin at 1 on Friday, with the second game between Florida and Central Michigan to follow at 6:30.
This marks UF’s 37th regional appearance, including the 14th in a row under coach Kevin O’Sullivan. The Gators have captured 14 regional titles and own a 79-48 record in regional games.
This is the 18th time that the Gators have hosted a regional, including the 11th time under O’Sullivan.
Home regionals have been boom or bust for the program under O’Sullivan. The Gators won eight of those previous 10 home regionals under his watch. In the other two, they were the first team eliminated, including last year when they were shellacked 19-1 by South Alabama.
Overall, the Gators are 116-80 in the NCAA Tournament, with 12 College World Series appearances and the 2017 national title.
UF (39-22, 15-15 SEC) enters the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the country, having won 16 of their last 21 games. They won four games in Hoover, Alabama, last week to advance to the SEC Championship Game.
This promises to be a highly competitive regional, though. Oklahoma (37-20, 15-9 Big 12) finished the season on a hot streak as well, winning 10 of their last 13 games and pounding Texas, 8-1, on Sunday in the Big 12 Championship Game. Some experts thought that they were wrongfully snubbed by not getting to host a regional, so the Sooners should be motivated to prove the committee wrong.
If the Gators and Sooners were to meet this weekend, it would mark the first ever matchup between the programs.
UF is very familiar with Liberty, and not in a good way. The Flames (37-21, 19-11 ASUN) won the opening series of the season at Condron Ballpark in February. They made the tournament as an at-large team after they lost to Kennesaw State in their league championship game.
Central Michigan actually boasts the best record in the regional (42-17, 30-7 MAC) despite being the No. 4 seed. They battled out of the losers’ bracket to win the MAC Tournament on Sunday and earn the automatic bid. UF is 7-0 all time against the Chippewas, with the last meeting in 2001.