GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After earning its first NCAA Regional win in seven years, the Jacksonville University baseball team advances in the winner's bracket of the Gainesville Regional. The No. 2 seeded Dolphins (40-19, 1-0) are set for a primetime duel with No. 1 overall seed Florida (43-17), with the winner advancing to the Regional Final. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium.
The 2018 NCAA Tournament features the nation's top 64 teams, who are broken up into 16 regionals with a double-elimination format, taking place from Friday, June 1-Monday June 4. The winners of each regional will advance to a Super Regional, where they will compete in a best 2-of-3 series, with the winner heading on to the 2018 College World Series. Each contest of the 2018 NCAA Baseball Tournament will be broadcast on one of ESPN's family of networks.
Audio: 92.5 FM | Mixlr.com Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.
Broadcaster: "Voice of the Dolphins" Scott Manze
Broadcasters: Steve Lenox (Play-By-Play) and Nick Belmonte (Color)
NCAA Regional Appearances: 1968, 1972, 1976, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2018
JU in NCAA Tournament: 12-28 (15th NCAA Regional appearance)
Gainesville Regional Appearances: 1991, 2009, 2011, 2018
JU in Gainesville Regional: 3-6 (previous wins over Bethune-Cookman in 2009 & Manhattan in 2011)
JU vs. Florida: Florida leads 55-33
- Meeting for the third time this year, the teams split the regular season series, with the Gators taking a 10-3 victory at home on March 21, and JU defeating the top-ranked squad on April 17, 8-4.
- JU's win over UF marked its first over the #1 team in the country since 2007, with the team putting up the most runs against its Sunshine State rival since 2008.
- Jacksonville and Florida met in an NCAA Regional one other time, with the Gators eliminating the Dolphins in 1991's Gainesville Regional, 3-0.
- The 'Phins are looking for multiple wins in a season over Florida for the fourth time in school history and the first time since 1995.
Probable Starting Pitchers
RHP Spencer Stockton (8-5, 3.57 ERA) vs. RHP Brady Singer (0-1, 2.25 ERA)
- After falling behind in the opening innings of the Friday's primetime contest in the Gainesville Regional, the Dolphins posted a three-run fourth inning and took the lead in the following frame, en-route to a 5-3 victory over No. 3 seed Florida Atlantic. Sam Armstrong (7) and Cory Carrastazu (3) each sent balls out of McKethan Stadium, while starting pitcher Chris Gau put forth 6.1 innings on the mound for his 12th quality start of the season and ninth victory. ASUN All-Freshman Team selection Trent Palmer earned his second save of the year, firing off scoreless 2.2 innings to preserve the victory.
- The Dolphins won an opening-round regional game for the fourth time in school history (1999, 1994, 1989), and have now eclipsed the 40-win mark in a season for the 10th time, and the first since 2006.
- Scott Dubrule and Ruben Someillan both carry 12 game on-base streaks into Saturday's contest, while Camacho has hit safely in his last seven contests.
- Jacksonville is appearing in its 15th NCAA regional and eighth as a member of the ASUN Conference, tied for the second-most appearances in league history.
- 10 different 'Phins have launched a home run so far this season, the most since 2015. Chris Lehane, Connor Stephens, John Cassala, Garrastazu and Duncan Hunter each launched their first-career big-flies, while Jacob Southern and Evan Fernandez have set season-highs in the category.
- Jacksonville leads all schools in the ASUN Conference in walks (257) batting average (.292), hits (583), on-base percentage (.385), runs (359), sacrifice bunts (44) and scoring (6.1)
- Rookie reliever Chris Mauloni emerged as the number to call out of the pen in save situations this season. The River City product picked up a pair of saves in the first two games of the 2018 ASUN Championship becoming just the 26th player in NCAA history to eclipse 20 in a season. Mauloni is tied for the national in saves, and is on the chase for the ASUN record for saves in a season (20 - Brooks Wilson, Stetson, 2018).
- Mauloni became the first Dolphin since 2015 to receive an All-American honor on Thursday, when it was announced that the freshman was named a Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Third-Team All-American. The Jacksonville native is the 43rd Dolphin to garner All-American honors, and the fifth to do so on a team put out by the nation's oldest baseball beat publication.
- JU strung together two winning streaks of eight games or more in a season this year for the first time since 1994.
- Four members of the JU staff have previous NCAA Tournament experience. Head Coach Chris Hayes made regional appearances in 1994 and 1995, while a member of the Dolphins. Assistant Coach Mark Guerra was a member of the 1994 team. Assistant Head Coach Rich Wallace went to three consecutive regionals from 2000-2002 as a member of the UCF Knights, and made another as a member of the team's coaching staff in 2004. Volunteer Assistant Scott Wingo won a pair of National Championships at South Carolina in 2010 and 2011, taking home CWS Most Outstanding Player during the latter.
- Jacksonville saw eight 'Phins earn ASUN Postseason Honors on Tuesday, highlighted by 1B Angel Camacho, 2B Lehane and SS Dubrule being selected as First-Team All-ASUN members.
Scouting the Gators
- Florida entered the 2018 NCAA Baseball Championship as the #1 overall seed in the tournament, despite dropping six of its last seven games entering the postseason. The Gators are the defending national champions after capturing the school's first CWS title last year over LSU, and spent the majority of the year ranked atop the major polls.
- Tonight's starting pitcher RHP Brady Singer has already earned several distinctions, both at the league level and nationally. Singer earned First Team All-SEC honors, while also being named Pitcher of the Year in the league. On Thursday, he became the first pitcher to be named Baseball America Player of the Year since UCLA's Trevor Bauer in 2011.
- Florida had six players earn All-SEC honors. Alongside Singer on the first team, 3B Johnathan India was also Player of the Year in the league, and closer Michael Byrne and catcher JJ Schwarz rounded out the four on the first team. RHP Jackson Kowar and OF Will Dalton earned All-SEC Second Team honors. Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan was named Coach of the Year.
- The Gators opened regional play with a 13-5 win over #4 seed Columbia in the first game of yesterday's action at McKethan Stadium. The Gators fell behind early, trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the third before rattling off seven unanswered runs to go-ahead for good. Florida banged 10 extra-base hits, seven doubles, and triple and two homers, a season-high for the Gators.
- India leads the SEC in several offensive categories, including slugging percentage (.728), on-base percentage (.508) and walks (49) and is third in home runs (17), total bases (139) and batting average (.366). He had a 24-game hitting streak earlier this season, the longest in the SEC and the third-longest in Florida history.
- The SEC Regular Season Champions finished second in the league in home runs (82) and strikeouts (487), third in doubles (122) and team ERA (3.58).