Gators, Hurricanes renew baseball rivalry

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
10:33
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A rivalry is always better when there's heartbreak involved, and there's no better example of that than the Florida-Miami baseball series.

[+] EnlargeKevin O'Sullivan
Bruce Thorson/US PresswireKevin O'Sullivan's Florida squad has had the upper hand over Miami in recent years.
The two teams -- which will meet in Coral Gables, Fla., for a three-game series that begins Friday -- have spent the last 27 years bouncing each other out of the postseason. For a while, the Hurricanes controlled the series, ending the Gators' playoff run eight times from 1984 to 2004. Florida, however, has sent Miami home short of the College World Series in each of the last three seasons.

No. 2 Florida (7-1) has won six games in a row against No. 8 Miami (7-0) in the postseason, outscoring the Hurricanes 51-20 in the process. The Gators beat the Canes in the Gainesville Regional in 2009 and 2011, and in a 2010 Super Regional. Florida has won 11 of its last 12 meetings with Miami dating back to an early-season series in 2009, when the Canes out-scored the Gators 26-8 in a three-game sweep in Coral Gables.

"We've had some recent success against Miami, but this is a year-to-year thing," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said after the Gators eliminated Miami in the 2011 postseason. "We just have played well against Miami [lately]. We've been at home for three years in a row [in the postseason], and that's a big difference. ... But by no means do we have this thing figured out."

Florida has pretty much the same team that beat Miami five times last season, including outfielder Preston Tucker, who drove in five runs in UF's 11-4 victory over Miami in the final game of the Gainesville Regional. The Gators have scored 47 runs and hit 12 home runs in eight games. Opponents, which includes 15 Cal State Fullerton, have scored just 24 runs and are hitting .249.

Miami has out-scored its opponents 70-25 and has a team ERA of just 2.43.

Watch the weekend preview:

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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