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FSU beats UCF to stay alive in NCAA Tournament; Gators outlast USF

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The Central Florida Knights had hoped to play Florida State on Saturday, but not with the season on the line. The Seminoles rolled to a 6-1 win in the Tallahassee Regional, eliminating the Knights from the NCAA Tournament and ending their season.

Both FSU and USF thought they would be playing each other in the winner’s bracket game on Saturday night, but Auburn and Tennessee Tech had other ideas.  UCF dropped a 7-4 decision to Auburn on Friday, while FSU was shocked by Tennessee Tech 3-1, setting up the unlikely high stakes game on Saturday.

The Knights never figured out Seminoles’ lefthander Tyler Holton. He allowed only 6 hits and one unearned run while striking out 13 Knights in a complete game effort. Jackson Lueck provided the big blow of the game, a three-run homer in the third inning.

With the victory, Florida State moves on to Sunday for a rematch with Tennessee Tech in a loser’s bracket elimination game. The Golden Eagles lost to Auburn 5-3 in the winner’s bracket game. Central Florida finishes the season with a 40-22 record under first-year coach Greg Lovelady.

In the Gainesville Regional, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats avoided elimination with a 4-2 win over Marist. On Sunday, they will face the USF Bulls, who lost to the Florida Gators 5-1 in 12 innings late Saturday night. Florida moves on to the regional final.

In the Chapel Hill Regional, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles lost an opportunity to make the regional finals when they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Davidson Wildcats. FGCU now must get by North Carolina, the tournament’s number 2 national seed, in a Sunday elimination game to have the chance to meet Davidson in the finals.

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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