After a disappointing 2019 season, the Florida Gators are ready to put last season behind them and are looking forward to opening day, next Friday. The 2019 Florida Gators baseball team was one of the youngest and least experienced teams in the country. They relied on a lot of their underclassmen and two early-enrollee freshmen. One of those early enrollees was right-handed pitcher Nolan Crisp.
Out of high school, Crisp was the 95th ranked prospect and the 30th ranked right-handed pitcher in the country. He and Jud Fabian decided to forgo their high school senior seasons and enroll early at the University of Florida. Early enrollees aren’t as common in baseball as they are in football. Crisp was thrown right into the fire and was counted on to be one of Florida’s horses in the bullpen.
“The transition was very smooth and we both got acclimated very quickly. All the coaches and players helped us a lot,” Crisp said about getting quickly acclimated with college baseball.
Nolan Crisp started off his freshmen season strong and was named the team’s closer. Right before SEC play, Crisp had a 2-0 record with a 2.57 ERA and seven saves. “My freshmen season started the way I wanted,” Crisp said.
As the season continued, Crisp started to struggle, and he wasn’t as effective. Crisp ended his season with a 4-4 record, 6.41 ERA and team-high eight saves. “Throughout the season I planned to do better. I was never too worried how I was doing, it was more about our team improving. I just wanted to help our team win in any way possible.”
Over the summer, Crisp had the opportunity to play for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the Cape Cod League. “I had a great time up in the Cape Cod League,” said Crisp. “I had a good pitching coach that taught me a lot. Just being in that amazing league this year really taught me about all the little things about baseball.”
Going into this season, the Gators have been ranked in the top ten in just about every preseason poll. This Florida team is still pretty young but the talent gap has closed between them and other top programs in the country.
“This team still has a lot to prove after last season,” Crisp said. “We have added some good pieces and the people we have coming back are ready to get after it this season. We have had a great fall and ironed out a lot of our wrinkles from last season. We are ready for this season.”
The collegiate baseball media isn’t the only group that has high expectation for this Gators baseball team. “Our team goals are to win a national championship this season! We have all the pieces to do so this season!”
As for Nolan Crisp, he will be ready when his number gets called. He isn’t worried about cracking the weekend rotation or trying to light up the radar gun. Crisp just wants to be the best he possibly can be and give his team a chance to win. “My personal goals for this season are to help my team be the best we can.”
The Florida Gators open their 2020 season at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium on February 14th against the Marshall Thundering Herd at 6:30 ET. This will also be the last Opening Day at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium as Florida will move into their new stadium for the 2021 season.