Baseball

BSB: No. 2 Gators to face No. 1 Miami in early season showdown

Despite emphasizing that this weekend’s series means little in the big picture, Kevin O’Sullivan’s squad will be in the national spotlight once again.

Photo by Kristen Oliff / ChompTalk.com

The Florida Gators will travel to Coral Gables to face rival Miami for an early season showdown that features the nation’s top two ranked teams, according to D1Baseball.com.

Both teams head into the matchup undefeated after the first week of ball. Florida has used a power offense that has hit at a .327 clip thus far, but the Gators also received quality starting pitching out of its Friday and Saturday starters on opening weekend. Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich each earned wins against Marshall. Both will need to have solid outings against a good Miami offense. It is unknown who Florida will throw on Sunday as head coach Kevin O’Sullivan left doubt after sophomore Nick Pogue struggled in his first start of the year.

Through five games, Florida has used all but two pitchers on its roster (Nolan Crisp, Trey Van Der Weide).

The Gators have dominated the series against the Hurricanes since 2009, having taken 30 of the last 38 decisions.

Miami enters with a roster loaded with experience and talent. The Hurricanes are 4-0 and have scored 35 runs in those games against Rutgers and Kent State.

Five Hurricanes are hitting .400 or better with at least ten at-bats. Adrian Del Castillo leads the way, hitting .538 with two homers and 8 RBI.

Friday starter Brian Van Belle threw six innings of shutout baseball in the opener while striking out ten. Saturday starter Chris McMahon threw five innings, allowing two runs and striking out nine. Sunday’s go-to guy, Slade Cecconi went six innings, while giving up one run and k-ing 8.

O’Sullivan’s squad heads to Coral Gables, once again looking to take a series from an in-state rival. Miami, no doubt, will remember the bad taste last year’s series left in their mouth.

But like O’Sullivan said, “this weekend has no bearing on what you do the rest of the season. If you play great this weekend it doesn’t mean that you will be playing great in June.”

The series opens at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Friday at 7:00 PM. All the games can be streamed via ACC Network +.

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: RHP Tommy Mace (1-0) v Brian Van Belle (1-0)
Saturday: RHP Jack Leftwich (1-0) v Chris McMahon (1-0)
Sunday: TBA v Slade Cecconi (1-0)

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