Tommy Mace during the Gators' game against the Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. / UAA Communications photo by Adler Garfield

Gators Baseball Visits No. 1 Arkansas for Final Regular Season SEC Series

No. 9 Florida Gators baseball is on the road against the top-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. The Gators and Razorbacks will wrap up their regular season in this weekend’s series before heading to the SEC Tournament.

Pitching Matchups

  • Game 1 | Tommy Mace (5-0, 4.40 ERA) v. Patrick Wicklander (4-1, 1.93)
  • Game 2 | Hunter Barco (9-2, 4.13 ERA)  v. Caleb Bolden (2-0, 4.67 ERA)
  • Game 3 | Franco Aleman (1-3, 5.26 ERA)  v. TBD

A Look at the Gators

Florida Pitching

The Gators are coming off a weekend series win over the Georgia Bulldogs. Florida took the first two games (4-3, 9-2) to claim the series, but dropped Game 3, 1-6.

Florida switched things up on the mound, placing pitcher Tommy Mace back as the Game 1 starter. Mace struck out ten while allowing three runs in his return to the Friday night spot.

The Gators’ Trey Van Der Weide and Jack Leftwich (7-2) sealed the deal in Florida’s Game 1 victory. Leftwich earned the “W” in Game 1 pitching the final two innings, allowing two hits while striking out five batters.

Freshman pitcher Hunter Barco moved up to the Game 2 slot. Barco went a solid six innings, striking out eight while giving up two runs. The Florida bullpen continued to look impressive against the Bulldogs. David Luethje and Christian Scott took took the mound in Game 2 to ensure the series victory.

Franco Aleman started for the Gators in Game 3. Van Der Weide and Leftwich returned to the mound to round out the series.

Gators at the Plate

A major key for the Gators is their offensive depth. Florida holds the third highest batting percentage in the conference with .283 percent. The Gators have plenty of big hitters including center fielder Jud Fabian who is currently tied for the SEC home run leader with 20 on the season.

Florida’s Nathan Hickey and Jacob Young have been some of the Gators most reliable batters. Hickey leads the team with 47 RBIs while Young leads the Gators with 68 hits on the season.

Top-Ranked Razorbacks

Arkansas enters this weekend’s matchup with a dominant SEC performance. The Razorbacks have yet to lose a series to any conference opponents, including ranked teams such as Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Last weekend, the Razorbacks claimed the series over the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers winning two of three. Arkansas won by a small margin, taking Game 1, 6-5, and Game 3, 3-2.

Their performance against conference opponents has put them in a position to take home the SEC West division title above Mississippi State. However, what makes this Arkansas team so dangerous is there talented arms and consistency at the plate.

Arkansas Arms

The Razorbacks’ Game 1 pitcher Patrick Wicklander enters Thursday’s contest with an impressive 1.93 ERA. The left-hander owns the second best ERA in the conference behind teammate Kevin Kopps. Kopps earned SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance against the Volunteers.

Game 2 will feature a start from Caleb Bolden. In just over 34 innings pitched he’s allowed 29 hits and 21 runs while striking out 33 batters. Arkansas has yet to announce their Game 3 starter at this time.

Razorbacks at the Plate

The Razorbacks have been strong at the plate throughout the season. Arkansas is led by the bats of Christian Franklin and Brady Slavens.

Slavens enters this weekend’s matchup as the Razorbacks RBI leader with 54. He has 11 home runs on the season and ties for the Arkansas top hitter with 57 hits.

Franklin’s presence at the plate includes 54 hits and 47 RBIs on the season. He also holds 11 homeruns on the season.

How to Watch

  • Thursday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m.
    • Watch: SEC Network
    • Listen: 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF
  • Friday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m.
    • Watch: SEC Network
    • Listen: 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF
  • Saturday, May 22 at 3:00 p.m.
    • Watch: SEC Network+
    • Listen: 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF

About Mady Benton

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