Right-handed pitcher Eric Hanhold has had his fair share of appearances this season, but tonight the sophomore will get his first series-opening start as the Gators host LSU.
Hanhold (3-2, 3.18) will go toe-to-toe with LSU’s Aaron Nola, a junior righty who is 5-0 on the season with a 0.22 ERA.
Gator head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said it will be challenging to face a seasoned veteran such as Nola.
“He’s got some dominating pitches. I mean, he’s 90-94 (mph), he keeps the ball down, he locates number one probably better than anybody in our league…he’s got a good breaking ball, good changeup, and he throws both sides of the plate,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s good. He’s got a lot of innings underneath his belt. He’s arguably one of the best in the country, if not, the best.”
Pitching may take precedence on Friday night, but a common concern for Florida is the lack of production when it comes to runners in scoring position.
Over the last four games, the Gators have left 37 runners on base. In total, Florida has stranded 202 in 25 games, averaging about eight per game.
“I just think you’ve got to get good swings off and when you get opportunities to score, you’ve got to cash in. You’re probably not going to get many opportunities with runners in scoring position, and when you do, you’re just going to have to have your best at-bats,” O’Sullivan said.
The Gators are hoping to do just that as they face the Tigers this weekend.
First pitch is set for 7:30 tonight, but you can catch all the action live with Steve Russell and Jeff Cardozo on Country 103.7 The Gator starting at 7:25.
For audio clips, click the links below:
Florida Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan
O’Sullivan 2 (talks about LSU’s Aaron Nola)
LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri
Mainieri 2 (talks about Aaron Nola)