After a topsy-turvy season few predicted from the nation’s consensus preseason No. 1 team, the Florida Gators of the bigger diamond will, in fact, host a Gainesville Regional at Florida Ballpark.
Just don’t count on them getting too much further in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
With the NCAA announcing regional sites on Sunday and the full field for the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Monday, the 1-2 punch of Gainesville being named as a regional host site and Florida being revealed as the tournament’s overall No. 15 seed — and paired with Texas as a possible Super Regional matchup — was another blow to a program that came into 2021 with almost the entirety of its high-flying 2020 roster intact and its championship goals deemed very realistic but has instead struggled to find consistency.
The NCAA Selection Committee seemingly all but disregarding Florida’s impressive spurt at the SEC Tournament last week — in which the Gators thumped Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Alabama by lopsided margins before being blanked by Tennessee in a Saturday semifinal — and handing it one of the last Regional host spots seems like an indignity that might well fire up the Gators, though.
Florida will see some familiar foes — and foes it’s familiar with vanquishing — in the Gainesville Regional, as well. No. 2 seed Miami and No. 4 seed USF are frequent visitors to Gainesville in postseason play, and although Miami broke through for a rare series win over the Gators earlier this year, the Hurricanes’ postseason struggles against Florida are well-documented.
No. 3 seed South Alabama, on the other hand, has never matched up against the Gators, though the Jaguars would likely need to upset Miami in Game 2 of the Gainesville Regional to have a chance to do so.
The schedule for the Gainesville Regional, which begins on Friday, June 4th, is as follows:
Friday, June 4th
Game 1: No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 USF, noon Eastern
Game 2: No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 South Alabama, 5 p.m. Eastern
Saturday, June 5th
Game 3: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser, noon ET
Game 4: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner, 4 p.m. Eastern
Sunday, June 6
Game 5: Game 4 Loser vs. Game 3 Winner, noon Eastern
Game 6: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 6 p.m. Eastern
Monday, June 7th (if necessary)
Game 7: Winner Game Six vs. Loser Game Six, 1 p.m. Eastern
After dealing with restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic all season, Florida Ballpark will be allowed to receive its full capacity of fans for the first time this weekend. Tickets are available through Florida.
Game 1 of the Gainesville Regional will be televised by the SEC Network, while Game 2 will be shown on the ACC Network. The rest of the Gainesville Regional will be broadcast by the ESPN family of networks, with channels as yet undetermined.