One thing consistent in Gator sports is inconsistency. The highs and lows of Florida baseball strike again. After suffering three-straight losses against No.25 South Carolina, the Gators will face their toughest opponent yet in No. 3 Ole Miss.
After sweeping Alabama, Ole Miss remains the only undefeated team in the SEC. Despite no losses in conference play, they have not won them all. Their overall record sits at 20-4. One reasons for the Rebel’s success is their power at the plate, specifically in Tim Elko. In the month of March alone, Elko sports .424 batting average, eight home runs and a whopping 23 RBI.
Mustache Madness pic.twitter.com/vu8vmkLvmG
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) March 31, 2021
On the season, however, Elko sits at a .341 batting average and 34 RBI. He is not the only bat the Gators need to watch. The Rebels are equipped with a handful of hitters over .300 including junior Kevin Graham, who also has 21 long balls.
Additionally, Ole Miss threatens from the mound. While starting pitching has not been unveiled, the Gators may face right-hander Drew McDaniel. The sophomore boasts a 1.96 ERA through 21 innings. Another strong right-hander, Gunnar Hoglund, has a 2.63 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched. Also, he leads the team with 65 strikeouts.
After a midweek matchup against Mercer was cancelled, the Gators took the ample time to prepare for the No. 3 Rebels. Florida started off at No. 1 and has dwindled down to the 15 rank. Defeating the Rebels will be their calling card back into the top 10. But, it won’t be easy. After a heart breaking three losses to the Gamecocks, Florida aims to bounce back in the SEC.
The offense at South Carolina was not as explosive as prior games. Overall, Florida only had 20 hits in the three-game series compared the South Carolina’s 34 hits. Additionally, only one starting pitcher for Florida, Hunter Barco, made it through five innings.
In order to take down the third best in the country, Florida will need to come out swinging early. Additionally, Florida pitching should strive to go five to six innings.
Three games is what awaits Florida this weekend. Three games to put away No. 3 Ole Miss. Three games to make the climb back to the top. The first one sliding in Thursday at 8 p.m.