PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Casey/UAA Communications

Florida Baseball Returns Home for Troy

The Florida baseball team hosts a three-game series against the Troy Trojans beginning on Friday. The Gators have a chance to build on their already impressive start.

This is the first 8-0 start in the Kevin O’Sullivan era. Additionally, it’s Florida’s first 8-0 start since 2002. Meanwhile, the Trojans come into Gainesville at 8-1.

https://twitter.com/TroyTrojansBSB/status/1233130469211983877

Scouting the Trojans

Offense

The Trojans enter the series absolutely mashing the ball. They scored double-digit runs in their first five games of the season. Also, three of their eight wins have come after trailing by at least four runs at some point in the game.

Furthermore, Troy boasts three batters hitting .440 or better. Head Coach Mark Smartt said he’s been pleased with his team’s start despite them leveling off in recent games.

They have an experienced top three in the lineup that consists of hitters with at least three years of playing experience.

Smartt on his offense:

Their lead off man Rigsby Mosley is 45th in the country with a .475 batting average. And catcher Caleb Bartolero is fourth in the country with 16 runs batted in.

However, Smartt said his team is facing an exceptional staff this weekend that will present a challenge for them.

“I look forward to seeing our lineup against that caliber of pitching,” he said.

Pitching and Defense

Speaking of pitching, the probable match ups for this weekend are as follows:

  • Tommy Mace (1-0. 2.08 ERA) vs. Levi Thomas (2-0, 0.00 ERA)
  • Jack Leftwich (1-0, 0.75 ERA) vs. Orlando Ortiz (1-0, 3.27 ERA)
  • Hunter Barco (1-0, 1.08 ERA) vs. Tyson Ellis (0-0, 1.80 ERA)

Smartt said Friday and Saturday are locked down but they’re still experimenting with the Sunday starter. He said Thomas and Ortiz’s performances will go a long way in determining Troy’s chances of winning.

All five of Ellis’s appearances are from the bullpen. The Trojans’ pen has a ton of arms that hasn’t really set up any defined roles as of yet.

Troy has no closer or eighth-inning setup man but they have plenty of mainly right-handed options Smartt likes.

Smartt on how he’s used his bullpen:

And if you ask Smartt, he wasn’t quite sure how his team’s defense would be. Right now, they’re fielding .984 as a team. Troy returned every starter except at third and first base.

Smartt’s reasoning for stellar fielding:

All games this weekend can be streamed on SEC Network+ or heard over the airwaves of 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF.

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