GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Gators baseball team will cap off their home stand this week taking on Ole Miss in a three-game series. Both teams are on a hot streak.
— Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) May 5, 2017
Not only are the Gators on a six-game home stand but a six-game win streak. After winning the series finale against South Carolina they went to Georgia and swept the Bulldogs. This week, the Gators have defeated both opponents they hosted—Florida A&M and Jacksonville.
A combined effort from the developing bull pen and a few bats that have been hot pushed the Gators progression in this leg of the season. At the start of the season the bullpen held a 4.81 earned run average over 25 games. But over the last 20 they’ve improved to a 2.10 ERA.
One of those arms has been Michael Byrne. The sophomore (2.01 ERA) has 11 saves on the year, second-most in the SEC and two shy of the school record.
Junior Christian Hicks has been a force to be reckoned with at the plate this week. He hit a home run against FAMU on Tuesday and two against Jacksonville on Wednesday.
— Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) May 4, 2017
Another notable swing right now is junior JJ Schwarz. Over the last 25 games, he’s 27-for-86, .314, with four home runs and 26 RBI.
Road Rebels Coming In Hot
The Gators aren’t the only team that have had a good week. Ole Miss is coming off a midweek sweep of ULM, scoring 26 runs over the two games.
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) May 4, 2017
The Friday night starter James McArthur is the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week. He and the rest of the pitching staff leads the SEC in ERA (3.03), hits allowed per nine innings (7.38), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.34) and WHIP (1.14), while ranking top 10 nationally in all four categories.
Although Florida has picked up the offense as of late, they’ll have to brush off the early season drought they had at the plate, especially because the Rebels are 24-2 when scoring at least four runs.
Battle of the Arms
Of course both teams will see good pitching this weekend. The Gators will start their usual Alex Faedo (2.62 ERA, 72.0 IP) on Friday night. The offense will see the towering 6’7″ McArthur, who leads the conference in holding opponents to just a .169 batting average and only 31 hits.
The Rebels will have young blood on the mound Saturday with lefty Ryan Rolison. Rolison was named SEC Freshman of the Week at the end of April and has allowed the fewest runs (12) in the conference. The Gators will put out their usual Brady Singer, the most consistent of Florida’s arms this season. In his 11 starts, he’s only allowed more than two runs twice.
The series finale will feature Florida’s Jackson Kowar (So., RHP, 7-0, 3.90 ERA, 64.2 IP) versus Ole Miss’ David Parkinson (Jr., LHP, 5-2, 3.43 ERA, 63.0 IP).
How to Tune In
The Rebels and Gators have a competitive history on the diamond and although Ole Miss has struggled in the standings in the SEC West this season, this series is expected to be no different. The Gators lead the all-time series over the Rebels by just two games, 49-47.
The series kicks off on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at McKethan stadium. All three games this weekend will stream live on SEC Network+ via the WatchESPN app. Sunday’s finale will air live on SEC Network at 2 p.m.