Heading into the final weekend of regular season play, four Florida teams are ranked among the top 30 in college baseball. The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is one of the tools used to choose the 64-team NCAA Tournament field and barring any disasters, Florida, Florida State, South Florida and Central Florida should hear their names called on selection day in less than two weeks.
In an unusual occurrence, Florida State fans must realize they have seen their team play at Dick Howser Stadium for the last time this year. The Seminoles will most likely make the NCAA Tournament, but their losing ACC record (12-14) is only eighth best and their overall record of 33-20 will have them traveling for any post season play. They are ranked 26th in the RPI.
“We ain’t getting a regional. Sorry,” said FSU Coach Mike Martin after dropping two of three to Wake Forest last weekend.
That will be the first time since 2006 FSU will not host a regional. While they would be grateful for the tournament invite, all they would ask is for the committee not to send them to Gainesville again. The last two seasons have come to an end for the Seminoles in the Super Regional at the hands – and bats — of the Gators at McKethan Stadium.
The Gators know they will be hosting a regional, but this weekend they will be playing to hold onto their position among the top 8 teams nationally. Those 8 will be scheduled to host Super Regionals.
Florida, ranked 5th in the RPI, hosts 7th-ranked Kentucky. A sweep by Florida gives them the SEC regular season crown. The SEC Conference Tournament begins May 23 in Hoover, Ala.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of success against Kentucky,” Gator Coach Kevin O’Sullivan told floridagators.com. “I don’t think it’s going to be easy.”
South Florida and Central Florida are tied at 13-8 for the American Athletic Conference lead heading into a showdown series this weekend in Orlando. The Bulls and Knights are battling Houston (13-8) and Connecticut (12-9) for the top seed in the conference tournament beginning May 23 in Clearwater.
USF, ranked 21st, swept the 27th-ranked Knights in Tampa last month. Both are expected to be on the road for any NCAA Tournament games, but UCF will have some revenge and a regular-season title on their minds.
A few are even making the case for USF to host a regional if they win the conference title. Bulls’ boosters highlight the fact they are 5-0 this season against Florida, Florida State and UCF.
Winning conference tournaments can lead to others getting in. Miami is only ranked 54th and has a 25-26 record making their chances slim. Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville, Florida International are all ranked in the top 80.