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NCAA Baseball Tournament providing June Madness

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Just call it June Madness. Crazy upsets are the norm in basketball every March, but the first day of regional play in NCAA Baseball Tournament produced some unlikely outcomes.

In Tallahassee, the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles scored three runs over the final two innings to stun Florida State 3-1, sending the Seminoles into the loser’s bracket.

Florida State starter Drew Parrish did not allow a runner to reach second base through the 7th inning. After he departed in the 8th, the Golden Eagles bunched together 6 hits to take the lead and pull the upset.

The top-seeded Seminoles will face the Central Florida Knights in an elimination game at Dick Howser Stadium beginning at noon on Saturday. UCF dropped the first game of the day, 7-4 to the Auburn Tigers. Auburn meets Tennessee Tech in the winner’s bracket game.

Earlier in the day, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles made their first-ever appearance in the tournament a memorable one with a 10-6 victory over the Michigan Wolverines in the Chapel Hill Regional. The Atlantic Sun Conference champions came from behind three times to finally take the lead for good with a 5-run 6th inning to take control.

The second-seeded Eagles will face the fourth-seeded Davidson Wildcats on Saturday in a winner’s bracket game. That match comes about following Davidson’s shocking 8-7 win over North Carolina, the number two national seed.

In the Gainesville Regional, the Marist Red Foxes were thinking upset, but fell short. They trailed the top-seeded Florida Gators only by 7-6 in the bottom of the 8th inning, but JJ Schwarz hammered a three-run homer for the Gators to provide the final margin.

Florida will face the South Florida Bulls in the winner’s bracket on Saturday. USF defeated the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 9-1 in the first game of the day.

The Bulls built a 7-0 lead after four innings and cruised to the victory. Duke Kunkel, Jr. and Chris Chatfield homered for Florida while starter Phoenix Sanders threw seven shutout innings to get the win.

 

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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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