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The Miami baseball team will play their first game in the Gainesville Regional in the NCAA Tournament against South Alabama at 5 PM ET on Friday. Miami finished the 2021 regular season 32-19. South Alabama enters the NCAA Tournament with a 33-20 record and the third seed against the second-seeded Hurricanes.
Gainesville regional top seed Florida and fourth seed South Florida begin the regional on Friday at 11 AM. The losers play Saturday at noon ET and the winners Saturday at 4 PM. South Alabama won the Sun Belt Conference with a 15-9 record. The Jaguars were 0-2 against Power Conference teams in 2021.
Alabama defeated South Alabama 11-8 in March. LSU dominated South Alabama 11-1 in March. The Crimson Tide and Tigers were able to hit the Jaguars, but South Alabama has had a stout pitching staff for the remainder of the season. South Alabama’s 3.84 earned run average is 27th in the country.
South Alabama will be without ace pitcher Jeremy Lee who has been shut down for the season a month ago with tightness in his forearm. The Jaguars won the Sun Belt tournament without him. With Lee out how will the depth in the Jaguars rotation be able to step up. JoJo Booker was 6-0 with a 2.76 ERA in eight starts.
The Jaguars are the best fielding team in Gainesville with a .979 percentage. South Alabama ranked 19th nationally in fielding. The Jaguars made only nine errors in 53 games in 2021. Infielder Kaleb De Torre did not make an error in 158 chances. The Miami baseball team is going to have to limit mistakes against the Jaguars.
Three Jaguars are hitting over .300. South Alabama does not hit with a lot of power. The Jaguars have 12 home runs on the season. Miami freshman superstar Yohandy Morales has 10. The game could come down to starting pitching. The Hurricanes have lacked consistency from their starting pitchers in 2021.
Miami is going to need good starting pitching this weekend to be able to advance out of Gainesville. The winner of the Gainesville regional plays the winner of the Austin Regional hosted by number two national seed Texas. Miami lost in the Starkville Regional Final in 2019. Miami’s last super regional appearance was in 2016.