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It marks the 11th-straight season that head coach Kevin O'Sullivan's club has been ranked during the preseason in the nation's oldest college baseball poll, which began in 1959. Courtesy: Daniel Apple

Doesn’t Matter How Gators Got Here. They’re Ready For The NCAA Regionals

The Florida Gators baseball team is in Lubbock, Texas, where they will play Dallas Baptist today, Friday, May 31 at 8 p.m. ET.  The Regional’s are a double elimination tournament with the winner advancing to the Super Regionals.

Every Team is 0-0

The Gators had an up and down season that allowed them to finish 33-24 but ended the season on a high note. Making it to the Regionals was anything but certain, especially with 30-24 record with three games left.

Head Coach, Kevin O’Sullivan, and his team did the only thing they could by sweeping Missouri to end the season. Even then, there was no guarantee that they would be selected. Prayers were answered on Monday by earning the #3 seed in the Lubbock Regionals.

Second-seed Dallas Baptist was less surprised with their selection after a 41-18 season.

Offensively, the teams match-up very well. The Gators had a team batting average of .281, while the Patriots averaged .282. Both teams hit 70 home runs on the season with Patriot’s junior infielder, Bryce Ball, leading the way with 17. However, their defense is where DBU set themselves apart.

The Patriots thrived defensively by allowing only 44 home runs and 249 runs.  The Gators allowed 59 and 334 respectively.

O’Sullivan was not surprised by the struggles after several players from last years team went on to the next level. The holes in the lineup left by the departure of the seniors primarily caused problems on the mound.

“When you lose your number one pitcher, it kind of makes things different,” O’Sullivan said according to 247Sports.

Florida has been forced to rely on inexperienced pitchers all season. The Patriots may have the edge on defense, but the Gators do have a true offensive weapon that can wreak havoc against any team.

The Gators Will Have to Lean on Their Offense

During this chaotic season that showcased the Gators’ strengths and weaknesses, O’Sullivan could always count on his star Short Stop, Brady McConnell.

After an injury plagued freshman year, McConnell quickly earned respect in year two. Posting a .341 batting average, 15 home runs and 47 RBIs that led the team in all three categories. He is one of two Gators with double digit home runs, the other is senior outfielder Nelson Maldonado. The Tampa Bay native hit 10 home runs and averaged .332 at the plate over the season.

Junior outfielder, Austin Langworthy joins the two as the top offensive play makers on the team. O’Sullivan should expect to see them on base regularly as the trio combined for 135 runs during the regular season.

McConnell understands what needs to happen for them to win.

“I think if our pitchers can pitch a little bit better – they don’t have to pitch lights out – I think we’ll be alright. Our offense, if we keep swinging it, it’s going to be hard to stop us, I think. And our defense has been good lately.” McConnell said when asked what needs to happen.” according to floridagators.com.

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