After losing to the Oklahoma Sooners, 9-4, on Saturday, the Florida Gators baseball team needs to knock out Central Michigan in a rematch to advance to the regionals finals against the Sooners later on in the day. If Florida beats OU, then a third and final tiebreaker on Monday will be played to determine who advances to the Super Regional matchup. First things first, though, Florida needs to beat CMU again.
The Gators took down the Chippewas ace and bullpen last time around, and CMU is running thin on pitchers going this deep into the tournament. Florida will trust Nick Pogue with the ball and has already shown that it has better depth than most thought in its run to the SEC Tournament championship game. That said, Sully used up four relief guys on Saturday and their availability is up in the air.
Trip to the Regional finals on the line.
🆚: Central Michigan
⏰: 1 PM
📍: Condron Family Ballpark
💪: RHP Nick Pogue
📊: https://t.co/y8L7ca51gm#GoGators pic.twitter.com/ilkGgzGjhP
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) June 5, 2022
Offensively, Wyatt Langford has struggled in particular, going 0-for-9 with five strikeouts so far in regional play. Florida needs him to be a factor at the top of the order like he’s been all year to make a difference.
On the other hand, moving Ty Evans into the four-hole and Jud Fabian back to the five seems to have worked. Evans knocked in two runs with a big fly Saturday and has been one of the better freshmen on the team along with Jac Caglianone, who appeared around the same time.
Mac Guscette also hit a solo shot on Saturday, which creates an argument to keep playing him at catcher and letting BT Riopelle’s knees rest for at least one game. Having Kendrick Calilao off the bench for a clutch pinch-hit is also nice to have in this kind of setting.
Projected Starting Lineup
BT Riopelle or Mac Guscette
Kendrick Calilao or Riopelle
RHP Logan Buczowski*
RHP Nick Pogue
* not listed
NOTES: Pogue has been the No. 3 guy for Florida for a while now after making his way back from Tommy John surgery. The last time out he gave the Gators five innings and surrendered just two runs while striking out eight Arkansas Razorbacks. If Sully can get that kind of performance again, or even an inning more, Florida should be in a good spot to take this game. Blake Purnell is still an option out of the bullpen and he’s good for at least two innings.
Buczowski is the likely option for Central Michigan after using Andrew Taylor in game one against Florida and Jordan Patty in game two. He’s finished the season with a couple of Saturday starts but doesn’t last very long in games as a reliever turned starter. His best outing have come against Bowling Green (6.0 IP, 0 ER) and Akron (5.2 IP, 2 ER), but he’s usually only good for about three to four innings outside of those starts.
NOTES: I said it would be a bad time for Florida to lose their first game against Central Michigan on Friday and it’s even more true on Sunday. Florida is expected to get a rematch with Oklahoma and it will be a disappointment if they don’t get there.
Follow the Action
SUNDAY (1 p.m. EDT)
* Watch links go directly to game feed
It’s the rematch with Oklahoma Florida should be worried about, but Central Michigan comes first. The Gators already proved they can get to the bullpen and CMU isn’t going to have more arms than it did on day one of this tournament. That said, UF looked a little shaky on Saturday at the plate and needs to get back into rhythm. Look for Wyatt Langford to break out of his slump in this one.
Prediction: Gators win, 6-2
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