College baseball is back! The Florida Gators will be hosting the Marshall Thundering Herd for a three-game series this weekend at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium. The Gators are coming off a rough 2019 season in which they were quickly eliminated in the Lubbock Regional.
The Marshall Thundering Herd finished last season with a 29-28 record as they failed to reach a regional. This will be the first matchup between the Gators and Marshall. Here is the series preview between the Florida Gators and the Marshall Thundering Herd.
Marshall Thundering Herd
The Marshall Thundering Herd will head to Gainesville, Florida to take on the Florida Gators led by their head coach, Jeff Waggoner. The Marshall head coach will begin his 14th season as the Thundering Herd’s head coach. Marshall will hand the ball their redshirt-senior Wade Martin for the season opener. Martin was a Second Team All-C-USA in 2017.
Sophomore Brady Choban will get the start for the Thundering Herd on Saturday. Choban made five appearances and three starts last season.
JUCO transfer Jeffrey Purnell will get the start in the series finale. Purnell pitched for John A. Logan College last season and amassed an 8-0 record, 2.43 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 59.1 innings pitched.
The Marshall Thundering lineup will have a new look as they lost a lot of their offensive production from the 2019 season. Junior Geordon Blanton is Marshall’s most productive returning starter. Blanton batted .286 with 17 doubles, 18 stolen bases and had a .820 OPS. Zach Inskeep is another returner who was very productive last season. Inskeep hit .281 with 12 doubles, five home runs and had a .991 fielding percentage. 2019 Conference USA All-Freshman Luke Edwards will be one of the few starters returning from last season. Edwards batted .260 with eight doubles, two home runs and 18 RBIs.
The Florida Gators baseball program has been looking forward to this day since the end of last season. Once again, Florida comes into this baseball season with very high expectations. The Florida Gators will be led by their head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, who’s entering his 13th season as Florida’s head coach.
The Florida starting rotation will be led by right-handed Tommy Mace. On Saturday, junior right-handed pitcher Jack Leftwich will get the start. Finally, sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Pogue will get the start in the series finale.
The Florida Gators offense was one of the top ranked offenses in the SEC. Their lineup did lose several of their key contributors such as Nelson Maldonado, Brady McConnell and Wil Dalton. However, this Florida lineup still has a lot of talent and brought in some of the top freshmen in the country.
Sophomore Jacob Young returns after an excellent freshman season. As a freshman, Young batted .311 with eight doubles, three home runs and 26 RBIs. Senior Austin Langworthy started last season slowly but was still able to put up good numbers. Langworthy batted .283 with 12 doubles, ten home runs and had a .860 OPS. Kendrick Calilao was another freshman who had a strong season. Calilao batted .276 with five home runs and 49 RBIs. Other Gators hitters to watch for this weekend are Jud Fabian, Cory Acton and Josh Rivera.
The series opens Friday night with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM. Follow the action on Twitter @ChompTalk and check back for our recaps.