Florida's Jac Caglianone (14) was the starting pitcher for the Gators against Stetson in Game 1 of their Fall Ball exhibition double-header, November 5, 2023, at Condron Family Ballpark in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators won Game 1, 7-4. [Cyndi Chambers/ Gainesville Sun] 2023

Gators Baseball Begins 2024 Season Against St. John’s

The Florida Gators baseball program opens the 2024 season on Friday against St. Johns. The expectations will be high in 2024 following the team’s 16th SEC Championship and a trip to the College World Series Final.

Although the Gators are coming off of their winningest season in program history, UF fell short to the LSU Tigers in the Men’s College World Series Final. However, the roster has been reloaded for another run to Omaha in 2024. Sophomore pitcher Cade Fisher is well aware that the team has a chip on its shoulder ahead of this season.

Revamped Lineup

Florida enters the year as a consensus top four team in the country. UF was ranked as high as No. 2 according to D1 Baseball and no lower than No. 4 in the Perfect Game and Baseball America rankings.

The transfers brought in by head coach Kevin O’Sullivan are ranked No. 11 in the D1 baseball rankings. Highlighting the transfers are sophomores Colby Shelton and Brody Donay. Moreover, Shelton will be the starting shortstop this season and Donay replaces former catcher B.T. Riopelle behind the dish. Sophomore second baseman Cade Kurland is confident in the pieces that have been added to the program.

Scouting St. Johns

The Red Storm recorded a record of 28-25 and an 8-12 stretch in Big East play last season. However, St. John’s did end its season on a positive, winning six of its last eight games. The Red Storm posted a team batting average of .296 and had 53 home runs as a team. Moreover, the team’s pitching staff combined for a 5.19 ERA over 463 1/3 innings. St John’s was sound defensively, recording a .971 fielding percentage in 2023.

UF’s 2024 Roster

The Gators return 14 players from last year’s national runner-up squad. The 2024 roster is headlined by junior Jac Caglianone, the Preseason Two-Way Player of the Year. Other returning starters include Kurland, sophomore catcher Luke Heyman, senior outfielder Tyler Shelnut, sophomore outfielder Michael Robertson and junior outfielder Ty Evans.

A total of six pitchers who provided valuable innings will return this season. The rotation is highlighted by Fisher, junior Brandon Neely and redshirt junior Ryan Slater.

First pitch against St. John’s will be on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Condron Family Ballpark.

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