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2010 Gainesville Regional Primer

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Florida - #1 Seed

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Head Coach: Kevin O’ Sullivan- 3rd season (3-4 in post season)

RPI: 4

How they got here: The Gators compiled an impressive 42-15 record en route to a SEC regular season championship which in turn gave them an opportunity to host a regional and claim the number three national seed. Going 22-5 in conference play, Florida outright dominated the nation’s best baseball conference. At the SEC Tournament the Gators dropped an opening round game to eventual champion LSU before falling in the semifinals to Alabama.

NCAA Tournament History: 5 College World Series (CWS) appearances, 25 NCAA tournament appearances. This is the third straight year the Gators have made the tournament and their second straight year hosting a regional. Last season Florida made it to a super regional before falling to Southern Miss.

How they match up against FAU: The Owls and Gators squared off in a mid-week contest that Florida won 7-3 in commanding fashion. FAU’s ace Mike Gipson and Friday night starter Ryan Garton both pitched in the game, but together they were unable to hold off UF’s offense.  With an early 3-0 lead, Florida Atlantic couldn’t manage anymore offense against Florida’s strong pitching staff.  Pitching depth has been the backbone of UF’s season, and FAU couldn’t seem to produce runs against it.

Star Watch: OF Matt Den Dekker (.355 AVG, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 21 SB) - Den Dekker, a second-team All -SEC selection, is playing good at the right time for the Gators. Selected to the ALL-SEC Tournament Team, Den Dekker went 4-15 in the tournament with four RBIs, continuing his spark  he has had all season long for the Gators at the leadoff spot.

Series against tournament teams:
2-1 at Miami, 2-0 vs. Illinois State, 1-3 vs. Florida State, 1-2 at Ole Miss, 2-1 vs. Vanderbilt, 2-1 vs. Arkansas, 3-0 vs. LSU, 2-1 vs. Alabama, 2-1 at South Carolina, 1-0 vs. FAU, 1-0 vs. Bethune-Cookman

Final Word: O’ Sullivan, who once was an assistant at Florida Atlantic (94’-95’), has Florida in position to make some noise on a national stage.  With a staff overall ERA of 4.14 and a team batting average around .298, the Gators can pitch and hit.

Florida Atlantic - #2 Seed

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Head Coach: John McCormack- 2nd season (0-0 in post season)

RPI: 38

How they got there: FAU enters the Gainesville regional playing their best baseball in years. Led by McCormack, the Sun Belt Coach of the Year, the Owls won the Sun Belt regular season championship after going 21-9 in conference. A team that has been revamped by first year players, FAU can pitch, hit, and win games.

NCAA Tournament History: McCormack has brought FAU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005 and its second regional not played in Coral Gables. This is good news for Owls fans, because the last time Florida Atlantic didn’t have to play in Coral Gables, they advanced to a super regional after beating host Alabama. Overall the Owls are 10-13 in tournament games and have made the post season six times.

Star Watch: RHP Mike Gipson (8-1, 3.41 ERA, 91 SO) - Gipson has been strong for FAU all season long, and will need to perform well on Friday afternoon against Oregon State to help FAU’s tournament run. The ace already has two complete games this season and has been moved from his normal rotation spot to face the Beavers in game one, with hopes of grabbing a win.

Series against tournament teams:
2-1 at Louisiana Lafayette, 0-3 at/vs. Miami, 1-0 vs. Bethune-Cookman, 2-1 vs. FIU, 0-1 at Florida, 0-1 at Auburn

Final word: The Owls come into the regional after dropping two games to rival FIU in the Sun Belt tournament. The good news is that the regional format differs from the conference tournament style and will have more spread out games. Florida Atlantic needs a big game from Gipson Friday afternoon and a quality start from Garton on Saturday to keep the special season going.

Oregon State - #3 Seed

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Head Coach: Pat Casey- 24th season (29-8 in post season)

RPI: 25

How they got here: Oregon State managed an at-large bid to the tournament after finishing the season 31-22 with an eighth place finish in the PAC-10. Going 12-15 in the conference, the Beavers were a bubble team going into the tournament selection process after an up and down season. Oregon State started the season off with a 13-3 record before a mid-season stretch in which they lost ten of eleven games.

NCAA Tournament History: The Beavers have been one of the most storied college baseball programs this past decade, by winning back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. This year’s regional berth makes it the fifth appearance in the past six seasons for Casey’s team, who has became a power in post season play. During the 2006 national championship run, the Beavers faced six elimination games before winning the championship, which gave Casey the opportunity to claim Baseball Americas 2006 Coach of the Year and ESPN.com’s College Baseball Coach of the Decade.

How they match up against FAU: Oregon State and the Owls have only played once before; a 13-5 Beaver win during a 1998 tournament in Melbourne, FL. The biggest overall weakness Oregon State has is a lack of offense. With an overall team batting average of .266 the Beavers are last in the PAC-10 in runs, runs batted in, hits and batting average. Another problem the team faces is its starting pitching. The current weekend pitching rotation has only combined for 15 wins, which should be a good sign for FAU as they
have hit .307 this year.

Star Watch: OF Adalberto Santos (.337 AVG, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 18 SB) - The bright spot of a lackluster Oregon State lineup, Santos has produced all season from the number three hole. Receiving PAC-10 Player of the Week honors after the final regular season series, Santos has safely reached base through 37 straight games.

Series against tournament teams:
3-1 at Hawaii, 1-2 vs. UCLA , 0-3 vs. Stanford, 4-1 vs. Oregon,  1-2 at Washington State, 0-3 vs. California, 1-3 vs. Arizona State,  2-1 vs. Arizona, 0-1 vs. San Diego

Final Word:
FAU finds itself facing one of the powerhouses in college baseball with Oregon State, a team that barely made the tournament. However, Oregon State knows how to win postseason games in tournament fashion. The 2,950 miles from Corvallis, Oregon to Gainesville shouldn’t be a problem for the Beavers and FAU needs to be ready to play.

Bethune-Cookman - #4 Seed

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Head Coach: Mervyl Melendez -11th season (1-18 in post season)

RPI: 99

How they got here: The Wildcats went 18-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, winning their fifth straight conference championship and tenth title in eleven seasons under Melendez. Bethune-Cookman recorded an overall record of 35-20, thanks to the offense. Leading almost every major statistical category in the MEAC, the Wildcats used the bats to win games instead of relying on pitching. The Wildcats started the season off going 1-7, before they found a mid season stretch in which they went 11-1 to turn around the season.

NCAA Tournament History: Bethune-Cookman is no stranger to regional play, as they have made a regional ten of the past eleven seasons. The Wildcats however, have only managed one win over that span, a 7-4 win over Florida International in the 02’ Gainesville regional. Melendez has consistently led the team to regional appearances, but the Wildcats lack of pitching depth has hurt.

How they match up against FAU: The Owls knocked off Bethune-Cookman, 8-4 in a mid-week matchup this season. Florida Atlantic pitcher Taylor Everist along with four other pitchers gave up eleven hits to the Wildcats, before a seventh inning SAC fly secured the lead. Bethune-Cookman lacks pitching, as their staff has a combined 5.22 ERA, which is good news for opposing teams. The Wildcats and Owls have met in regional before, a 12-0 win by FAU in the 99’ Coral Gables regional.

Star Watch: C Peter O’ Brien (.392 AVG, 20 HR, 56 RBI) - The sophomore MEAC Player of the Year, O’Brien has had a record setting year for the Wildcats. Batting third, O’ Brien’s bat carried the team to its fifth straight conference title.

Series against tournament teams:
0-1 at UCLA, 0-2 at Washington State, 2-0 vs. VCU, 2-1 vs. Dartmouth, 0-2 vs. FIU, 0-1 at FAU, 0-1 at Miami, 0-1 at Florida

Final Word: Bethune-Cookman has already lost to Florida and FAU, which is not good news for a team entering the post season. With that in mind, the Wildcats can find some offense and score runs fast which is needed due to the lack of pitching.

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