Game Preview: Florida faces off in regional rubber match against Oklahoma

·4 min read

Florida took care of both Central Michigan and Oklahoma on Sunday to force a third and final game with the Sooners on Monday to decide which team continues their season in the Super Regional round of the NCAA Baseball Championship Tournament.

The Gators won’t have Carsten Finnvold on the mound Monday to go nine innings against OU, but the freshman’s clutch outing has the momentum firmly on UF’s side. At a certain point on Sunday, the Sooners looked perplexed as they continued to pop up Finnvold’s high 70s to low 80s stuff without changing their swings. That kind of funk carries over in a tournament like this, especially as pitching depth gets stretched further and further.

After using both Timmy Manning and Finnvold on Sunday, Florida is essentially out of starters with decent experience. Anthony Ursitti gave up six earned runs the last time he was on the mound against Alabama, and Garrett Milchin hasn’t made a start since Nick Pogue took over the No. 3 spot. It might fall on one of them Monday, but the bullpen is sure to work most of the ballgame barring another miraculous pitching performance.

The good news is Florida’s best hitters are hitting. Jud Fabian went yard twice in the late game Sunday, and Wyatt Langfordhit a pair of long balls in the early matchup. That puts Fabian at 24 homers for the year and Langford at 25, which is good enough for the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the school’s single-season record book.

Sterlin Thompson has been on another planet since regionals started, hitting 8-for-14 so far through the four games. It also comes right after a 4-for-25 slump in the conference tournament, so Kevin O'Sullivan is really enjoying having his bat back.

First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT at Condron Family Ballpark on Monday.

Projected Starting Lineup

C

BT Riopelle or [autotag]Mac Guscette[/autotag]

1B

[autotag]Kendrick Calilao[/autotag] or Riopelle

2B

Sterlin Thompson

3B

[autotag]Colby Halter[/autotag]

SS

[autotag]Josh Rivera[/autotag]

LF

Wyatt Langford

CF

Jud Fabian

RF

[autotag]Ty Evans[/autotag]

DH

[autotag]Jac Caglianone[/autotag]

 

Probable Starters

Team

Pitcher

Record

ERA

OKLAHOMA

TBD

TBD

TBD

FLORIDA

TBD

TBD

TBD

NOTES: Florida has used most of its starters already. Sully could go with Manning again after he only threw 11 pitches in the first inning on Sunday, but that seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Then again, starting Ursitti or Milchin could go just as poorly. The fresh arms are a better bet, but we saw Kris Armstrong warming up in the bullpen on Sunday, so literally anything could happen in this one.

The Sooners are also down to their last arms, but there’s more to work with after playing a game less than the Gators. Braden Carmichael has the most starting experience out of the group, but his ERA is sky-high at 8.79 through 28.2 innings. Going with Trevin Michael who typically comes out of the pen might be a better bet. He’s the team leader in ERA and has worked more than four innings on several occasions, including a six-inning outing against Kansas in April.

Series History

OVERALL

1-1

AT HOME

1-1

AWAY

0-0

NEUTRAL

0-0

NOTES: Before this regional began, these two teams had never met. Now they’ll have some nice history to look back on once Oklahoma finally joins Florida in the SEC.

Follow the Action

MONDAY (1 p.m. EDT)

* Watch links go directly to game feed

Prediction

Well, if Carsten Finnvold didn’t make you a believer, I’m not sure what will. We ride with the hometown team one more time and go down with the ship if it all blows up in flames. The story of this Gators team at the onset of the season was “veteran bats guiding young arms.” We’ve seen some of that and some of the inverse this season, but it’s time to lean on the experienced bats to get a tired pitching staff through one more game.

Prediction: Gators win, 6-4

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