FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
The University of Florida baseball program and sixth-year head coach Kevin O’Sullivan announced its 2013 schedule on Monday. The Gators’ 56-game schedule features 36 games within the friendly confines of McKethan Stadium at Perry Field, where the squad registered a 31-8 (.795) mark last season and is 155-34 (.820) during O’Sullivan’s tenure.
UF has over half of its games versus opponents who advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament, including home series against Kentucky, Miami (Fla.), Ole Miss and South Carolina, and will have three series totaling nine games against teams that reached Super Regionals, two of which advanced to Omaha.
For the 13th-consecutive season, and the 25th time in 27 years, the Gators will open their season at home, hosting a three-game series against Duke from Friday-Sunday, Feb. 15-17. Florida will be tested by the challenging 30-game Southeastern Conference schedule and will also face traditional Sunshine State rivals Florida State, Miami, Florida Atlantic, Florida A&M, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, North Florida, UCF and USF.
UF will clash with Florida State in three mid-week affairs, hosting the Seminoles on March 12, facing its arch-rivals on March 26 at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and visiting Tallahassee on April 9. The Gators host Miami for three games over March 1-3. Other foes who will visit McKethan Stadium include Georgia Southern (Feb. 20) and Indiana (March 8-10).
Last season, Florida was awarded the top national seed in the NCAA Tournament, its fourth-straight year within the Top-8 seeds, and became one of two programs to advance to the CWS in the last three campaigns. O’Sullivan’s club swept the NCAA Gainesville Regional with victories over Bethune-Cookman (4-0) and Georgia Tech (6-2, 15-3) and then defeated NC State twice (7-1, 9-8) in the Gainesville Super Regional to advance to the College World Series for the eighth time in school history (1988, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012).
With a 47-20 (.701) record, Florida reached the 40-win plateau for the 21st time in school history, the fourth-straight year under O’Sullivan, and the team has won 100 games in the past two seasons (53-19 in 2011 and 47-20 in 2012). Last spring marked the 11th time that McKethan Stadium has hosted NCAA Regional action and the fourth-straight year for the first time in school history. The Gators have now gone on to the College World Series from Gainesville on seven occasions: 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Florida is 40-10 (.800) on its own turf during NCAA play and claimed all five outings on its own turf last season. O’Sullivan is 18-3 (.857) in NCAA play at home, 12-0 (1.000) in Regionals and 6-3 (.667) in Super Regionals. He also passed Joe Arnold (1988, 1991) and Andy Lopez (1996, 1998) as the Gator head coaches with the most trips to Omaha.
Facing the nation’s most difficult schedule according to Warren Nolan and rated No. 2 in the NCAA’s final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the Gators established a school record with an 18-game winning streak from February 21-March 22 and raced out of the gates with a 23-2 record. Florida led the nation in home runs (75) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.65), was second in fewest walks allowed per 9 innings (2.07) and was fourth in WHIP (1.15) during the 2012 campaign. In addition, the pitching staff’s earned run average of 2.92 was the lowest for the Orange and Blue since 1983 and ranked eighth in the country.
Returning letterwinners for the Gators include junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.), senior infielder Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.), junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.), sophomore catcher Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.), sophomore right-hander Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.), junior right-hander Keenan Kish (Worcester, Pa.), sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.), sophomore outfielder Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.), redshirt sophomore infielder Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.), sophomore left-hander Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.), senior infielder/outfielder Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.), sophomore outfielder Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.), sophomore left-hander Corey Stump (Lakeland, Fla.), senior outfielder Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.), sophomore infielder Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.), sophomore infielder Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and junior right-hander Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla).
Following the SEC Tournament from May 21-26, Florida will be seeking its 29th NCAA Tournament appearance. Regionals will take place at 16 campus sites from May 31-June 3, followed by the best-of-three Super Regionals spread out among eight venues from June 7-10. Soon after, the eight survivors will advance to the 67th College World Series in Omaha, Neb., over June 15-26.
The five, three-game SEC home series pit the Gators against Kentucky (March 15-17), Ole Miss (March 29-31), South Carolina (April 12-14), Tennessee (April 26-28) and Auburn (May 10-12). Florida will open the league schedule in Gainesville on March 15 against Kentucky and is not slated to face West rivals Alabama, Arkansas and Texas A&M during the regular season. For the eighth-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 Vanderbilt (March 22-24), Mississippi State (April 5-7), Missouri (April 19-21), defending SEC Champion LSU (May 3-5) and Georgia (May 16-18). UF’s 2013 schedule boasts 26 games against squads that finished among the top-30 in the final version of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).