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Gators sweep Regionals; will face Miami or Texas A&M next

The Gators pounded FAU 15-0 for a sweep of the Gainesville Regional in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. The No. 3 Gators (45-15) will await the winner of Miami-Texas A&M in the Coral Gables Regional. The Aggies defeated Miami Sunday to force the Monday playoff.

The Gators were never challenged this weekend, defeating Bethune-Cookman 7-3 Friday night and Oregon State 10-2 Saturday. FAU was overpowered Sunday, probably because they had to slog their way through an 11-7 win over the Beavers earlier in the afternoon just for the opportunity to get killed by the Gators.

Florida had six homers Sunday, including three by sophomore Tyler Thompson. The best development Sunday was that Kevin Chapman and Tommy Toledo each pitched one inning, the first time they saw action in the Regionals. With the starters going at least the minimum each day, UF could save their closer and secret weapon until the final day. Chapman and Toledo only got in for the work. Against Miami or Texas A&M, UF will need all arms healthy and ready. You could even make the case that Toledo should have pitched longer to stretch his arm out.

As for the starters, Brian Johnson's (6-4) seven innings of shutout ball was superb, allowing only six hits and no walks. Saturday's winner, Alex Panteliodis (10-2) went five innings, allowed two runs on five hits and struck out eight. Hudson Randall (8-3) struck out 10 and allowed three runs on six hits in his win over Bethune. 

To assess the weekend, we have to ignore the 15 runs over a weakened FAU and the Bethune win. Instead, look at the 3rd inning of the Oregon State game. OSU is not a pushover and they play in the very competitive Pac-10, where eight teams made the NCAA Tournament. Yet, UF was able to mount a seven-run, two-out rally in the 3rd inning to destroy any hope of a Beaver win. During the inning, the 6-9 hitters were 5-5, with a single, double, two triples and a homer (Adams, 2 RBI). They accounted for five RBI in the inning. Innings like that are how you win championships. Not necessarily seven-runs at a time, but two-out rallies and "everyone hits." 

The Gators would host the Super Regionals against either Miami or Texas A&M. The earliest the series would start would be Friday, June 11. With the Coral Gables Regional going to a playoff, Game 1 of the Gainesville Super Regional would probably be Saturday, June 12. This season, UF took two of three games against the Canes at UM. UF last played Texas A&M in 2007 and was swept at College Station in a regular season series.