Surprising Regional Bid for Struggling SEC team

The Florida Gators have struggled a lot in 2024, but they were able to find a way into the NCAA Tournament. Let's take a look at how Florida got into the tournament.
Vanderbilt v South Carolina
Vanderbilt v South Carolina / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

The Florida Gators baseball season in 2024 has not been pretty. They lost in the College World Series Finals in 2023, but after taking a game three defeat to LSU, they have fallen off. They have a record of 28-27 and were first round exits in the SEC Tournament, but the NCAA committee decided to give a spot to Florida in the NCAA Tournament.

What Key Games has Florida Lost this Season?

The Gators have struggled this season, which resulted in various upset losses. During midweek games, Florida lost to Stetson, UCF, Florida State three times, and Jacksonville. They also got swept by Missouri and took series losses to South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

What Impressive Wins has Florida had this Season?

Despite losing a ton of games, Florida has had some impressive wins. They won conference series against Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, and Georgia. All four of those teams are in the NCAA Tournament aswell.

The strength of schedule benefitted the Gators in this selection into the tournament. They are lowest seeded SEC team out of the 11 teams that made it. They are the third seed in the Stillwater regional.

Who will the Florida Gators Play in the Stillwater Regional?

The Gators are going to play against the Big Ten Tournament champions, Nebraska, in game one of the Stillwater regional.

The first team Florida will face is the Nebraska Cornhuskers. They are coming off a Big Ten Tournament victory over Penn State. They have a very solid team, which will be dangerous for the Gators. The other two teams in this regional are Oklahoma State and Niagara.

Nebraska has a record of 39-20, with 16-8 conference record. They have the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year in Brett Sears. This season, Sears has a 9-0 record with a 2.00 earned run average in 99 innings pitched and has struck out 97 batters. He is the teams ace and will likely pitch in game one.

Florida's pitching has struggled this season, but after losing to Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Tournament, their pitching is well rested. The Gators could send out their two-way star, Jac Caglianone to start this game. This season, Caglianone has a 5-1 record with an earned run average of 4.35 in 62 innings pitched and has struck out 68 batters.

This game will be very competetive, but tough for Florida. The Gators barely got into this tournament, but they still have chance to do damage. This tournament is double elimination. Tune in to watch Florida on Friday on ESPN+.