Gainesville Regional BreakdownPostseason
Most Exciting Player: JJ Schwarz, C, Florida. Schwarz, a junior, has hit 34 career homers and has a knack for coming up big in the postseason. He was the MVP of the 2015 SEC Tournament and the MVP of the 2015 Gainesville Regional. Last year, he made the SEC All-Tournament team.
Best Hitter: Kevin Merrell, SS, South Florida. Merrell led the Bulls in several categories: a .386 batting average, a .468 on-base percentage, a .569 slugging percentage, four triples and 18 steals (in 22 attempts).
Best Defensive Player: Deacon Liput, 2B, Florida. Liput is only hitting .220, but he has made just one error all season. He has started 55 games and has a stellar .996 fielding percentage.
Best Pitcher: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida. A 6-5, 225-pounder, Faedo is expected to be selected among the top 10 to 20 picks in this year’s draft. He got off to a slow start after knee surgery, but he is coming on strong and has a 7-2 record and a 2.80 ERA in 15 starts. He has 113 strikeouts and just 32 walks in 96 innings, and batters are hitting just .225 against him.
X-Factor: South Florida’s offense. The Bulls scored 15 runs in their win over Florida this year. But when the Bulls faded down the stretch, losing seven of their final 10 games entering this regional, they scored two runs or less a stunning six times.
Best Starting Rotation: Florida. Faedo, sophomore Brady Singer (7-4, 3.37) and sophomore Jackson Kowar (11-0, 3.74) are a terrific trio of righthanders. Even in Kowar’s three no-decisions, he allowed just five earned runs in 18 innings.
Best Bullpen: South Florida. Bulls relievers have posted a 3.75 ERA and 29 wins this season. They get consistent contributions from five to seven relievers, including Andrew Perez and Joe Cavallaro, who have combined for 11 saves.
Best Offensive Team: South Florida. The Bulls have four .300 hitters and a team on-base percentage of .386.
Best Defensive Team: Florida. The Gators have a .981 fielding percentage.
No. 1 Seed Win Probability (1-10): 8. Florida, the No. 3 national seed, may not win it all. But the Gators should advance at home.
Florida (42-16, 21-9 SEC)
The Gators made an NCAA regional for the 10th straight year – all under coach Kevin O’Sullivan – and they have advanced in five of the past seven years.
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