The Florida Gators baseball program
had a great weekend as they dominated the Marshall Thundering Herd. The pitching staff had an overall good weekend. There were some minor issues that need to be fixed before the Miami series and conference play, but solid nonetheless. The Gators bats were awake all weekend long as they hit for a .327 average with seven home runs and had a 1.060 OPS for the weekend. There were also a few players that surprised a lot of people with their production. Here are the three takeaways from the Florida Gators vs. Marshall Thundering Herd series.
1. Pitching staff looks the part
The Florida Gators had one of the worst pitching staffs in the SEC last season. A big reason why was because of their youth and inexperience. Most of those pitchers that struggled last season now have a full season under their belt and looked much improve in week one.
Tommy Mace had a good opening day start as he pitched six innings allowing eight hits, two runs, no walks and six strikeouts. Jack Leftwich was outstanding in his first start of his junior season. Leftwich pitched six innings allowing two hits, no runs, no walks and eight strikeouts. Nick Pogue had a rough first start but Christian Scott silenced Marshall’s bats and the Florida lineup did their job. Freshmen pitchers Hunter Barco, Brandon Sproat, Ryan Cabarcas, Tyler Nesbitt and Nick Ficarrotta all had excellent collegiate debuts.
2. The Florida offense gets off to a hot start
After not playing any meaningful games for a while, some offenses come out of the gates slow but not the Gators. Florida’s offense teed off on Marshall’s pitching staff as they were able to get runners on base and get the hits when they needed them most.
Third baseman Kirby McMullen is leading the Gators in hitting with a .625 batting average. He also has three doubles, three RBIs and a 1.769 OPS. Florida also hit seven home runs including four from their series finale. Cleanup hitter Cory Acton had a terrific weekend as he batted .444 with a home run and a 1.421 OPS. Jud Fabian was also one of Florida’s top hitters as he hit .357 with a double, home run and a 1.081 OPS. Other Gators that had a big opening weekend was Nathan Hickey, Cal Greenfield, Austin Langworthy and Brady Smith.
3. Early surprises
Going into the season, many weren’t certain how Florida’s would look come Friday night. Many people were especially surprised when the lineup was released on Florida’s twitter page. To see Jacob Young and Brady Smith on the bench was a surprise to many, if not all.
Fans and media alike were even more surprised to see Kirby McMullen at third and Cal Greenfield behind the plate. However, those guys showed that Kevin O’Sullivan knows what he’s doing. McMullen started off as a pitcher at Florida but is now batting third and is the team’s leader in hitting. Greenfield’s offensive production has been nothing impressive in his first two years at Florida. He looks a lot more comfortable at the plate and squared the ball up a few times this weekend. With Greenfield’s defensive ability, he could be one of the top catchers in the SEC if he continues to produce at the plate.
In the latest D1Baseball rankings, the Gators have moved up to No. 2. The team in front of them? The Miami Hurricanes.
The Gators will travel to Coral Gables this weekend for a three game series that opens on Friday.