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UF-FSU start confrontation Friday night

June 08. 2005 6:01AM

At McKethan Stadium
All games on ESPN and AM-850

Florida State vs. Florida, 7 p.m.


Florida State vs. Florida, 7 p.m.


Florida State vs. Florida, 1 p.m. (if necessary).

The excitement surrounding this weekend's Florida-Florida State Super Regional got a little hotter Tuesday.

The first game of the best-of-three series between the Gators and Seminoles will be played Friday at 7 p.m. at McKethan Stadium, the NCAA announced. It will be broadcast by ESPN.

The second game of the series will be played Saturday at 7 p.m. If a third game is necessary it will be Sunday at 1 p.m.

Florida coach Pat McMahon knows that opening the Super Regional on Friday night will create a more intimidating environment than a Friday or Saturday afternoon opener.

"I'm very pleased with the game times," McMahon said. "It's good for all the fans."

Three other Super Regionals begin Friday, including Miami at Nebraska (1 p.m.), Tennessee at Georgia Tech (4 p.m.) and Arizona St. at Cal St. Fullerton (10 p.m.).

The other four Super Regionals begin Saturday with Clemson at Baylor (noon), Rice at Tulane (1 p.m.), Texas at Mississippi (7 p.m.) and Southern Cal at Oregon St. (10 p.m.).

Adding to the excitement Tuesday was word from Florida's ticket office that only single-game general admission tickets remain for the series. And those are expected to be sold sometime today.

The school has already sold out the three-game tournament ticket books and the 600 tickets allotted to Florida State. The first 250 UF students will also be admitted free.

"This place is going to be rocking," Florida senior outfielder Jeff Corsaletti said. "We're happy. We're ready to go."

The scene this weekend could very well be the most frenzied environment ever witnessed at McKethan Stadium. The Gators expect it to resemble Florida's first home game against Florida State last season when a McKethan Stadium record crowd of 5,663, showed up. Those who were turned away from the sold out game were seen watching from the tops of trees behind the outfield fence.

"I can only imagine how crazy it's going to be this weekend," Florida right fielder Brian LeClerc said.

But with news of game times and television broadcasts coming Tuesday, McMahon's weekend pitching rotation remained a mystery.

McMahon was waiting to see how junior Alan Horne responded to his seven-inning performance in Florida's 23-3 win over Notre Dame last Sunday in the Gainesville Regional.

"We still haven't set our rotation yet," McMahon said. "The second day (after pitching) is typically when we find out more about our pitchers. I have a good idea of what we want to do."

The Seminoles, meanwhile, announced Tuesday they will start sophomore right-hander Bryan Henry on Friday night. Henry moved into FSU's regular rotation after he beat Florida April 19 in Tallahassee. Henry gave up just two runs over 7 innings in the Seminoles' 4-2 victory.

He has since taken over the role as the Seminoles' ace and was named All-ACC first team and the Tallahassee Regionals most outstanding pitcher.

Florida, the No. 7 national seed, lost two of three from Florida State during the regular season. Both teams swept through the regionals to land a Super Regional spot.

"This is the best matchup in the country," Corsaletti said.
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