Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan. [AP Photo/Matt Stamey]

O’Sullivan Previews Gator Baseball Season

After leading his team to the finals of the College World Series in 2023, Florida baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan said he believes the Gators have the roster to make another deep run in the NCAA postseason.

UF opened practice Friday followed by an intra-squad scrimmages over the weekend.

Pitching Questions

After starters Hurston Waldrep and Brandon Sproat were selected in the 2023 MLB draft, major questions arise about who will be the starting pitchers for the Gators.

O’Sullivan will be watching his pitching staff closely in the first few weeks to solidify his rotation. He looks to start sophomore Cade Fisher, freshman Liam Peterson and junior Jac Caglianone to start on weekends.

On the back end, junior Brandon Neely will be the closer. He led the SEC last year in saves with 13 out of 14 opportunities.

O’Sullivan is counting on the incoming freshmen to step up and compete during the middle innings.

NIL and the Portal

NIL has become a major conversation in the college sports world. O’Sullivan discusses how he has had to embrace this when landing talent from the portal.

During the offseason, Gators acquired Alabama transfer Colby Shelton, who has found his way as a potential starting shortstop. This position was also a question after Josh Rivera was drafted in 2023.

The Gators also acquired Tanner Garrison from Coastal Carolina. He looks to be the starting catcher.

Difficult SEC Schedule

With portal acquisitions as well as some star returners, the Gators look to have a productive offense.

This will be much needed with their schedule this season, facing some talented SEC teams. The team will have to pay visits to Arkansas and Vanderbilt in back-to-back weekends. Both are ranked in the top-10 preseason polls. The Gators will also visit No. 2 LSU in a College World Series final rematch.

Caglianone Expectations

Caglianone was named SEC Preseason Player of the Year by D1Baseball last week.

Caglianone looks to follow his star-studded performance in 2023, when he batted .323 with 90 RBIs and an NCAA-leading 33 home runs. On the mound, Caglianone finished with a 7-4 record with a 4.34 ERA and 87 strikeouts.

Opening Weekend

The Gators road back to Omaha begins Feb. 16 with a series against St. Johns at Condron Family Ballpark.

 

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