FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
The University of Florida baseball program and third-year head coach Kevin O’Sullivan announced its 2010 schedule on Wednesday. The Gators’ 56-game schedule features 34 games within the friendly confines of McKethan Stadium at Perry Field, where the squad compiled a 30-10 (.750) mark last season. UF has 30 games versus opponents who advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including home series against 2009 College World Series champion LSU and CWS participant Arkansas.
For the 10th-consecutive season, and the 22nd time in 24 years, the Gators will open their season at home, hosting a three-game series against USF from Fri.-Sun., Feb. 19-21. The Bulls were the runners-up in the Big East last year and compiled a 34-25 overall mark. Florida will be tested by the challenging 30-game Southeastern Conference schedule and will also face traditional Sunshine State rivals Florida State, Miami, Bethune-Cookman, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, North Florida and UCF.
"We are excited for the upcoming season and are counting on our Gator fans’ continued support," O’Sullivan said. "We made a lot of great progress last spring, return a strong nucleus and have many new players that we will be relying upon to have an immediate impact."
UF will clash with Florida State in four mid-week affairs, meeting the Seminoles in Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field as part of the Florida Four Tournament on March 2, hosting the Garnet and Gold on March 16, facing its arch-rivals on March 30 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and visiting Tallahassee on April 13. The Gators travel to Coral Gables to face Miami for three games over March 5-7. Other national foes who will visit McKethan Stadium include Siena (Feb. 25), La Salle (Feb. 26-28), Illinois State (March 9-10) and Charleston Southern (March 12-14).
Florida will be seeking its league-best 30th appearance at the eight-team SEC Tournament at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., to be held from May 26-30. The Gators were 42-22 overall last season and claimed the SEC’s Eastern Division title for the first time since 2005, finishing one game behind LSU and Ole Miss for the league crown. UF reached the 40-win plateau for the 18th time in school history and the first time in four years.
Florida returns 20 letterwinners, including 10 pitchers and five players who saw the majority of time at their position last season and boasts the nation’s top incoming class. The Gators return a solid nucleus that includes two-time first-team All-SEC infielder Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.), two-time SEC All-Defensive Team member center fielder Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), 2009 SEC Co-Freshman of the Year and NCBWA Freshman Hitter of the Year first baseman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.), SEC All-Tourney and NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tourney choice outfielder Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and the sophomore quartet of pitchers Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.), Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.),Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) and Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.).
Following the SEC’s postseason event, Florida will be seeking its 26th NCAA Tournament appearance. Regionals will take place at 16 campus sites from June 4-7, followed by the best-of-three Super Regionals spread out among eight venues from June 11-14. UF went 3-0 last spring to sweep the Gainesville Regional, edging Bethune-Cookman (8-7) and then overpowering Miami (Fla.) twice (8-2 and 16-5) to advance to the NCAA Super Regional for the third time in school history, all in the past six years.
Soon after, the eight survivors will advance to the 64th College World Series at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., over June 19-29. UF has reached the CWS five times in school history, most recently in 2005, when it was the national runner-up.
The five, three-game SEC home series pit the Gators against Mississippi State (March 19-21), Vanderbilt (April 2-4), Arkansas (April 23-25), defending national and SEC champion LSU (April 30-May 2) and Georgia (May 14-16). Florida will open the league schedule in Gainesville on March 19 against Mississippi State and is not slated to face West rival Auburn during the regular season. For the fifth-straight year, the final weekend of the SEC regular season will be contested from Thursday-Saturday to provide an extra day off before the start of the league’s tourney.
Stops on the Gators’ road itinerary include trips to Ole Miss (March 26-28), Tennessee (April 9-11), Kentucky (April 16-18), Alabama (May 7-9) and South Carolina (May 20-22). UF’s 2010 schedule boasts 25 games against squads that finished among the top-30 in the final version of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).