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Saturday college sports action features high stakes matchups

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Plenty of Florida college sports is on tap throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Many of the games come with high stakes.

The Florida Gators will play in the SEC semi-finals on Saturday against Arkansas. The top-seeded Gators will face the fourth-seeded Razorbacks in the second game of the day in Hoover, Ala. Second seed LSU meets 11th-seeded South Carolina in the first game at 1:00 p.m.

Florida reached the semi-finals after an incredible rally against Mississippi State. The Gators trailed 3-0 entering the eighth inning, but exploded for 11 runs on the way to a 12-3 win over the Bulldogs.

In the ACC, both Florida State and Miami are playing in the semi-finals in Louisville, Ky. FSU plays at noon in the day’s first game against 9th-seeded Duke in front of what will be a dramatically reduced crowd at Louisville Slugger Field. The Seminoles upended top-seeded and fifth ranked Louisville 6-2 on Friday to advance.

Miami is the tournament’s fifth seed and they will take on North Carolina following the FSU vs. Duke game. The Hurricanes rallied to get by Wake Forest on Friday to move on. They are on the tournament bubble and may need a spot in the championship game to improve their chances.

The Central Florida Knights are playing for a spot in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) semi-finals on Saturday, but they must win two games to get there.

UCF, the tournament’s top seed, must defeat 8th-seeded East Carolina in the first game Saturday afternoon, then beat them again in another game that would immediately follow the first. The Knights are in that predicament following their 14-3 loss to the Pirates in the opening game. UCF blasted the USF Bulls 12-0 to reach the semi-finals.

The Florida Atlantic Owls are also trying to reach a conference final. They face the Rice Owls on Saturday for a spot in the Conference-USA finals in Biloxi, Miss.

In softball, both Florida and Florida State can reach the College World Series with wins today.

The Gators kept their hopes alive on Friday when they shut out conference foe Alabama 2-0 to even their best-of-three Super Regional series in Gainesville. FSU took the opener of the Tallahassee Super Regional with a 3-1 win over the LSU Tigers.

ESPN is showing both games. The FSU vs. LSU contest is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. while Florida vs. Alabama is set to begin at 5:00 p.m.

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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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