Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Gets Top Seed CWS Recognizes Power of State

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Gets Top Seed CWS Recognizes Power of State

Article excerpt

Which state has produced the best college baseball teams in the

country this season? The answer is as easy as 1-2-3 -- Florida,

Miami and Florida State -- the top three seeds for the College

World Series, which opens Friday in Omaha, Neb.

For only the second time in the 52-year history of the CWS, the

state's three premier programs will finish their season at

Rosenblatt Stadium, duplicating their 1996 feat.

FSU (53-18) meets No. 6 seed Arizona State (38-22) in Friday's

opening game of the double-elimination tournament (3:30 p.m.,

ESPN), with Miami (50-10) facing No. 7 seed Long Beach State

(41-21-1) at 7:30 (ESPN2). Top-seeded Florida (46-16) will face

No. 8 seed Mississippi State (41-21) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday

(ESPN2).

"I just think it goes to show the strength of baseball that is

played in our state," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "And I think

our committee was right on [the seeding]. I don't think there's

any way you can seed anybody in front of Florida because of what

they've done to people."

The Gators (46-16) needed a two-run 11th-inning single from

Derek Nicholson to beat Illinois for the South I Regional title,

but their regular-season excellence went a long way toward the

No. 1 seed. NCAA Baseball Committee Chairman Ron Wellman called

Florida's 9-4 record vs. the CWS field the "primary factor" for

the top seed.

"The No. 1 seed is a reward," UF coach Andy Lopez said. "I

don't believe in the seeds too much, since we won the national

championship as a seven seed at Pepperdine in 1992. . . You

have got to play well once you are there."

Two-time defending champion and No. 5 seed Louisiana State

(46-17) means all three Southeastern Conference teams in the

field are in the same half of the bracket. …

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