Gator Baseball came out of regionals smelling like lemon lime Gatorade, and the same might happen when they begin Super Regional play against Southern Miss tomorrow in Gainesville. The No. 8(42-20) last hosted a Super Regional in 2005, when they defeated FSU to go to the College World Series in Omaha. This time, Southern Miss (38-24) presents a far different challenge; the dreaded Hot Team.
Southern Miss was the three seed in the Atlanta regional, taking two from host Georgia Tech to earn the spot in Gainesville. The Fighting Brett Favres actually took the first two games of the regional, with Tech winning to force the deciding game. The Goldencan rake, scoring 17, 10, and 12 in the wins at Atlanta. As a team this season, they have hit .308. Four players have better than 50 RBI, and two more have 39. (Contrast that to UF, where Preston Tucker has 83 RBI. The only guy above 50 is with that number.)
But Southern Miss allowed 15, 7, 8 and 10 in the loss to Tech. That falls in line with their 5.01 team ERA. Beyond their top two starters; righties Todd McInnis (9-4, 3.21) and JR Ballinger (6-3, 3.92), there aren't any studs. Closer Collin Cargill (11 saves, 3.25) looks like trouble, but it's a minefield for Southern Miss to get to him.
Southpaw Stephen Locke (5-2, 4.02) will be on the bump tomorrow and it is crucial Florida dominates. College Baseball favors teams on hot streaks (see 2006 Oregon State, 2008 Fresno State), and UF needs to impose their will on Southern Miss. Plus, playing Game 1 at 3pm, will be a test for everyone. If Florida can get to Southern Miss' pen, the series will be over in two.
Alligator Army is making the trip down for Game 1. Tomorrow, we'll move the twitter feed to the main page, so you can follow along too. Nevermind. There is a 60% chance of rain tomorrow and I'm not excited about trying to fight off a rain delay with 5000 other people. ESPN it is!
(BTW, the title comes from this; the most underrated sports theme song. Another great underrated song; NBC US Open coverage, which immediately makes you think of golf on Father's Day. A very nice challenge to the best themes; The Masters and The NBA on NBC.)