Photo Credit: Florida Gators baseball page

Gators On The Road To Nashville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida baseball team will start their weekend early with a road trip to take on Vanderbilt. The 3-game series begins tonight.

This weekend will be critical for both teams in a conference that is in quite a stalemate right now. This week the SEC fielded eight different teams in the top 25 of various national polls. The Commodores and Gators sit tied at 6-6 in the East.

The Gators starters on the mound will remain the same, just shifting up a day due to a Thursday opener. They’ll need a better performance from Friday nighter Alex Faedo, who struggled against Tennessee last week.

Although he had a season high 12 strikeouts, he allowed six runs on 10 hits in 5.2 innings.

Saturday’s sophomore Brady Singer has remained light out this season; he has allowed no more than two earned runs in any of his eight starts and averages 7.0 innings pitched per start.

Florida will have to take the hit of being without junior catcher Mike Rivera, who

ESPN Gainesville; Gators Baseball catcher Mike Rivera meets Friday-night starter Alex Faedo for a conference at the mound. Credit: Savanna Collins

suffered a broken hamate bone in his right hand. Rivera injured his hand on Tuesday’s 10-7 win over Florida State. The reliability that Rivera brings behind the plate will definitely be missed. In the lineup, contributes a .260 batting average with two homers and 17 RBIs.  He’s expected to be out four weeks.

JJ Schwarz and Mark Koloszvary will switch off at catcher this weekend.

The Gators will need senior Ryan Larson to stay on his hot streak while in Nashville. Over the past five games, he’s hitting .500 (11 for 22) and he tends to do well in the Music City. He has a career 389 average (7-for-18) against Vanderbilt in three seasons.

The Dores will come into the series with some momentum in the conference after a big weekend in Columbia. They surprised many this past weekend with a series win over No. 12 South Carolina in Columbia.

On the other hand, they just dropped their first midweek game of the year to Tennessee Tech on Tuesday, 5-2.

They’re likely to stick with what worked on the mound last week with Patrick Raby on the bump on Thursday and Wright on Friday.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan has won six of his nine all-time series against Vanderbilt, including two of four in Nashville. But you can’t go off numbers this year, it’s been anyone’s day to win in the SEC this year.

When and How to Watch

The series opener will be a late one with first pitch set for 9 p.m. The game will be cast live on ESPNU. Game two on Friday night begins at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network+ and the final match up on Saturday is set for 3 p.m. on ESPN2.

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