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Gators Prepare For NCAA Regional Opener Against Columbia

The top-seeded Florida Gator baseball team will look to build off their successful regular season on Friday as they welcome Columbia to McKethan Stadium for the first game of NCAA Regional play on Friday.

The Gators aren’t necessarily firing on all cylinders at the moment as they have lost six out of their last seven contests. It doesn’t get any easier for Florida as freshman Tommy Mace will have to go up against a tough Colombia squad that just defeated Yale to claim the Ivy League Championship.

Gators Coming Into The Postseason Limping

After only winning one out of their last seven games, maybe the Gators were feeling a little bit homesick. Florida will be playing in their friendly confines for the first time in three weeks.

“We’re just trying to get our mojo back and get some confidence going again,” Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan said.  “We played really good for 50 plus games, obviously the last six or seven haven’t gone the way we wanted them to go. You can’t control when adversity hits but you can control how you handle it moving forward.”

“Every team battles through adversity at one point, we went through it now,” Florida third baseman Jonathan India said. “I don’t think we have lost focus; it’s just some hard cards we have been dealt.”

Following UF into tournament play are plenty of questions regarding the health of the team. Team captain J.J. Schwarz is currently dealing with a fractured hand and his return date is unknown.

An even bigger worry for the Orange and Blue is the status of their Brady Singer. Singer, who was recently named the Baseball America National Player of The Year, is trying to get over a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the SEC tournament. The ace will be available for regional play and is scheduled to start on Saturday.

Also returning for the Gators is Tyler Dyson who has been out since May 8th because of shoulder soreness.

Big Moment For a Freshman

Tommy Mace will make what will undoubtedly be the biggest start of his collegiate career.

The right-hander has passed every test so far this season as he comes into the ballgame with a 4-0 record and a 4.44 ERA on the season. Mace will have to hit his spots on Friday as Columbia has superb discipline at the plate.

What to Expect From Columbia

Postseason play is nothing new to the Lions as they have earned an NCAA Tournament berth four out of the last six seasons.

Columbia is led by Liam McGill who leads the team with a .319 batting average and 30 runs batted in. The Lions aren’t that big of a home run threat but their leader in that department is Chandler Bengston with 10.

On paper, this is a really good match-up for the Gators as they hold the advantage in every major statistical category.

Historically, Columbia has struggled against UF. The Lions are 0-4 all-time against Florida and they are just 1-9 all-time against teams from the SEC.

How to Watch

First pitch from McKethan Stadium is at noon. A live telecast is available on WatchESPN and radio broadcast can be heard on ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF.

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