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No. 1 overall seed Florida Gators baseball (50-13) was victorious in three very different games over the weekend, advancing to the Super Regional round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament with a sweep of the Gainesville Regional in Gainesville, Florida.
Florida opened Friday with a 9-3 takedown of Bethune-Cookman, slugged it out in a 6-5 edging of UConn on Saturday and put it all together in an 10-1 rout of Georgia Tech in Sunday’s final game.
The one tie that bound all three victories was junior first baseman Peter Alonso, who returned after missing significant time with a fractured hand to light up McKethan Stadium over the weekend. Alonso combined to go 8-for-14 with three home runs, eight RBIs, six runs and a walk. He smacked two homers in his return game on Friday and followed up with another in Saturday’s tight contest.
Junior right-handed pitcher Logan Shore (6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R [2 ER], 2 BB, 4 K) came through in the opener to improve to 11-0 on the season, while junior lefty A.J. Puk (4.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R [4 ER], 5 K) got roughed up in his outing on Saturday. Junior RHP Dane Dunning improved to 5-3 on the season by pitching 3.2 scoreless innings, and junior RHP Shaun Anderson came on to tie a program record with his 13th save of the season following a clean inning. Sunday’s finale saw sophomore RHP Alex Faedo (8.0 IP, 4 H, BB, 10 K) nearly go the distance as he hurled a shutout — before an officiating error led to a run in the bottom of the ninth — to boost the Gators into Super Regional play.
Florida will host Florida State in the Gainesville Super Regional beginning Thursday. The Gators are 3-0 this season against the Seminoles and has won five straight games against their in-state rivals dating back to 2015.
UF has a 5-1 all-time series record when hosting a Super Regional by advancing in 2005 (2-0 over FSU), 2010 (2-0 over Miami), 2011 (2-1 over Mississippi State), 2012 (2-0 over NC State) and 2015 (2-0 over FSU). The Gators only fell to Southern Miss in 2010 (0-2). Florida is 10-3 all-time in Super Regional games played in McKethan Stadium.
The Gators are hoping to return to the College World Series for the second straight year, sixth time in the last 10 years and 10th time in program history.