University of Florida Baseball has started fall practice for their 2015 campaign. The Gators went 40-23 last season on the way to earning their third Southeastern Conference title in five years, and a national seed for NCAA play for the fifth time in six years.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is entering his eighth season leading the team and is joined by assistant coaches Craig Bell, Brad Weitzel, and Lars Davis.
“It’s about establishing roles and camaraderie in your club.” O’Sullivan says. “We’ve got a lot of returning guys and another good recruiting class, so we’re excited to get out there again.”
The incoming team for Florida has been ranked No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball. This is the sixth time the Gators have been in the top eight of this list.
Fans always want to know about the new faces on the team, and O’Sullivan says a couple of freshmen catchers could help the team right away in Mike Rivera and JJ Schwartz. Both players were drafted by, and made, the 18 Under National Team.
“They’re somewhat seasoned, and both those guys should end up being in the lineup every day for us,” O’Sullivan said.
The returning Gators are led by outfielder Harrison Bader who hit a team hith.337 a year ago with 13 stolen bases. Shortstop Richie Martin also returns after hitting .265 a season ago.
The strong suit of the team could be in its pitching with a lot of familiar faces returning like Logan Shore, Danny Young, Kirby Snead and many others.
The fall schedule will include open practices followed by scrimmages. Practices will be held on Tuesdays at 3 p.m., Wednesdays at 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m., and Sunday at 12 p.m. The Gators will continue their fall practices until November 23.
The 2015 season will include 56 games, with 35 of those being held in McKethan Stadium at Perry Field. Florida will start its season on February 13, when they host Rhode Island.
Click below to listen to head coach O’Sullivan’s comments.