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Courtesy of UAA/ Gators Baseball Facebook

Florida Baseball Enters SEC Tournament as the 11th Seed

Though it was a disappointing regular season for the Gators, the team closed out the season on a high note by sweeping their final regular-season series versus Missouri.

The Gators will need to make noise in the SEC Tournament if they want any shot of making the postseason. Though the Gators have a current RPI of 25, the team only has 13 conference wins. It will be tough to make the postseason with that low a total of conference wins. However, it has been done in the past by some other SEC teams.

With the SEC being such a tough baseball conference the Gators still have a chance at the postseason, especially if they can catch fire in the SEC Tourney.

Tournament Outlook

The Gators start their tournament on Tuesday at 10:30 AM versus Texas A&M. This is a very winnable game for the Gators as Texas A&M finished with only two more conference wins and three total wins on the regular season in comparison to Florida.

Florida will look to kickstart what needs to be a great tourney run by defeating the Aggies on Tuesday morning. Game one versus Texas A&M is single elimination so if the Gators can advance through that game then they will have some double elimination series left.

If the Gators are able to beat the Aggies then they will be taking on a red hot Georgia Bulldog team. The Bulldogs finished the season 21-9 in conference play and 42-14 overall. Though looking at this bracket a run seems unlikely, there is never a reason to doubt the Gators in the postseason.

Formula for Success

Pitcher Jack Leftwich was named SEC-Co Pitcher of the week after his dominant complete shutout performance against the Missouri Tigers.

Furthermore, the Gators will need to find a balanced attack between their pitching and bats in Hoover, Alabama. The Gators have had success hitting the ball this season with three hitters hitting over .318. Sophomore Brady McConnell has the led the Gators offensively with a .344 BA and 15 Home runs.

Senior Nelson Maldonado has put together a solid season as well hitting .335 with 40 RBIs. This Gator team doesn’t lack offensive firepower, but what separates this year’s team versus previous successful teams is the lack of dominant pitching.

Freshmen Nick Pogue has been surprisingly solid for the Gators with his 2.90 ERA in 31 innings pitched. Unfortunately for the Gators, the pitchers who have logged the most starts and game appearances all seem to have ERAs all north of 5.00. That is not a number you want to see from your best starters especially at the end of the season.

Final Thought

Fortunately for the Gators, they have had the bats to make up for the inefficient pitching this season. However, in the SEC tourney, the Gators are going to need to make huge strides on the mound to be able to hang with SEC offensive powerhouses.

The Gators are a young, but talented team, and if they can continue to play the way they did in their past series with Missouri, then anything is possible.

About Brett DioGuardi

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