The Gators seem to know when to turn the switch on.
They entered NCAA Regionals with three meaningless losses in their last five games. But all that changed last weekend when they dominated their regional and outscored their opponents 32-5 in three games.
No. 4 Florida (45-15) will look to continue its postseason surge when it attempts to advance past No. 20 Miami (43-18) in the NCAA Super Regional which begins Friday at 7 p.m. in McKethan Stadium.
“Our sights are on playing for a while into the summer,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said.
If the Gators are to accomplish their coach’s plans and make it to the College World Series for the sixth time in school history, they will need to sustain their performance from the regional to top the Hurricanes.
Whether it be defense, pitching or hitting – Florida excelled.
In the three games, it continued its defensive success from the regular season and committed zero errors.
UF is strongest up the middle, with shortstop Nolan Fontana (.989 fielding percentage), second baseman Josh Adams (.984) and center fielder Matt den Dekker (.984).
O’Sullivan said this is one of the areas the Gators have improved in the most since last season, when shortstop Mike Mooney committed 18 errors and sported just a .930 fielding percentage.
The UF pitching staff has benefited from the improved defense all season, but it helped itself this weekend.
The starting pitchers pounded the strike zone. Seventy-four percent of their pitches went for strikes as they allowed just five runs in 19.1 innings of work while striking out 22 batters in the Gainesville Regional.
“The one thing this club does better than a lot of teams we’ve faced is they pitch in very well,” said FAU coach John McCormack, who lost to UF on Sunday.
But it wasn’t like the Florida arms didn’t have a lead to pitch with.
The Gators received production from up and down the lineup in the regional. They crushed nine home runs and posted a .385 average during the weekend.
“I think that’s the most encouraging thing going into (super regionals) – we are doing all three phases of the game as well as we have done them all year long,” O’Sullivan said.
Six Gators Drafted
On Tuesday, UF closer Kevin Chapman and den Dekker were selected in the MLB Draft.
Chapman was taken 119th overall in the fourth round by the Kansas City Royals. The New York Mets took den Dekker in the fifth round with the 152nd overall pick.
Pitchers Tommy Toledo (32nd round, Minnesota Twins), Justin Poovey (41st round, Los Angeles Angels) and Matt Campbell (43rd round, Cincinnati Reds) went on Wednesday.
Senior catcher Hampton Tignor, who took just 16 at-bats this season, was selected in the 36th round by the Angels.