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FSU, UF to host NCAA regionals; other Florida schools will earn bids

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Two weeks ago, the Florida State baseball team lost their regular season home finale to Wake Forest, 10-9. That left them 12-14 in ACC conference play with three games at then-No. 2 Louisville coming up, followed by the ACC Tournament in the same place.

There was some concern whether FSU would even make the NCAA Tournament. Coach Mike Martin uttered his complete frustration after that game.

“This one could have been really, really great for the resume,” he said while offering a prediction. “We ain’t getting a regional.”

No one disputed Martin’s pronouncement.

Fast forward two weeks. Florida State went 2-0 in the regular season’s final games against the Cardinals (one was rained out), but still only earned the 8th seed in the league tournament. After again beating Louisville, some began to believe something special may be unfolding.

On Sunday, Florida State won their second ACC Tournament title in the last three years, earning the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid and completely changing the conversation. On Sunday night, Dick Howser Stadium was named one of the 16 regional sites. .

The first Florida school to officially qualify for the NCAA Tournament was Florida Gulf Coast. On Saturday, the Eagles come from behind to stun Jacksonville 4-3 in 10 innings to win the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament championship and earn the league’s automatic berth in next week’s regionals.

Despite not winning their conference tournaments, other Florida schools will join FSU and FGCU in the tournament.

The Florida Gators were the top seed in this week’s SEC Conference Tournament. After reaching the semi-finals, the Gators were wiped out by the Arkansas Razorbacks 16-0.

Florida, Kentucky, LSU and Arkansas will all host NCAA regionals next week.

The Central Florida Knights entered the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Tournament as the top seed. But after two losses to 8th-seeded East Carolina, including’s Saturday’s 4-0 shutout,  UCF will wait for Monday’s NCAA Tournament Selection Show to learn their place in the field.

Central Florida currently has an RPI ranking of 23 and conference rival South Florida is ranked 22nd. Both will make the field of 64.

In a battle of the Owls, Florida Atlantic fell to Rice in the Conference-USA Tournament semi-finals 13-2 on Saturday. With an RPI rank of 55, FAU is now a long-shot to make the NCAA Tournament.

In women’s softball, after dropping the opener to conference foe Alabama, Florida had to win the final two games of the Gainesville Super Regional to advance to the Women’s College World Series. Saturday’s 2-1 victory earned them the trip to Oklahoma City beginning next week.

In the Tallahassee Super Regional, Florida State won the opener, but LSU came back to win the next two to deny FSU the trip to Oklahoma City. The Tigers earned that berth with Sunday’s 6-4 win.


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

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