(Andy Hutchins/SB Nation)
For Florida baseball, this is more like it.
The No. 1 Florida outfit that fans thought they were getting before the season began, suffused with talent and ready to make up for a heartbreaking end to the 2011 season in Omaha, has now shown up as the No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Gators squad that decimated the Gainesville Regional this weekend. Sunday's 15-3 demolition of Georgia Tech was only the final roar from a team that seems to be clicking at the right moment.
Florida didn't waste much time putting the Yellow Jackets away. Florida scored four runs in the first inning, three in the second, and seven in the fifth en route to a massive 15-1 lead. Mike Zunino led the charge with a massive three-run homer, and finished with four RBI thanks to a sacrifice fly that tied him for the school record for sacrifices, but Daniel Pigott was one of four Gators with two hits and matched Zunino's four RBI, and the top three hitters in Florida's order (Nolan Fontana, Preston Tucker, and Zunino) all scored three runs.
It was an offensive onslaught so overwhelming that Florida's formidable pitching didn't much matter. Brian Johnson allowed one run on a homer in his five innings of work, Bobby Poyner and Johnny Magliozzi each allowed runs in relief, and Karsten Whitson, Greg Larson, and Austin Maddox all worked well in their appearances.
Florida dominated its Regional, crushing Bethune-Cookman and Georgia Tech by a combined 25-5 count — and, oh, yeah, getting a no-hitter from Jonathon Crawford on Friday night. The Gators won't know their Super Regional opponent until late Monday night, after North Carolina State and Vanderbilt play the final game of the Raleigh Regional, but, with the way they're playing, there's a significant chance that it won't really matter.