Looking back, Florida’s narrow 3-2 win over Bethune-Cookman in March was really the start of the Gators’ struggles. Jud Fabian’s two homers lifted UF to victory, but something didn’t seem right then and the team is still looking to find its groove with only two weekend series left to play.
With that in mind, Florida is hopeful to take the second game of the series against the Wildcats in a convincing fashion and put an end to the inconsistencies that have plagued this season.
The team seems to be turning the corner with a four-game winning streak under its belt. The offense has picked up and led UF to an 18-3 blowout of South Florida last Tuesday and a three-game sweep of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Nick Pogue got the midweek start last time around for UF against Bethune-Cookman, but he took the mound Sunday so Kevin O’Sullivan will turn to Tyler Nesbitt instead. Nesbitt isn’t known for going deep into games, so this should be a heavy bullpen day as well.
Florida won’t be taking Bethune-Cookman lightly after the last matchup ended with such a close score, and it’s likely we see the offense pile up runs as they did against USF. The playoffs are coming and Florida needs to be in fifth gear to make it out of a regional alive. This is the kind of game that allows you to kick in the clutch and take things up a level for the remainder of the season.
Projected Starting Lineup
[autotag]Jac Caglianone[/autotag] or [autotag]Ty Evans[/autotag]
LHP Alec Mendez
RHP Tyler Nesbitt
NOTES: This will be [autotag]Tyler Nesbitt[/autotag]’s 14th appearance of the season but only his second start. He’s looked decent out of the bullpen this season with a 5.40 ERA that’s a bit inflated from one ugly six-run outing against Georgia. This should be a game for Nesbitt to rack up a few strikeouts and get some confidence back.
Mendez got the start for the Wildcats last time and lasted just an inning in his return from Tommy John surgery. He’s been limited this season, so expect another short outing from him and the bullpen to do the rest of the work.
NOTES: Florida has lost one game to Bethune-Cookman since 1989 and there’s little reason to believe that total will double after Tuesday’s contest. The lone upset did come fairly recently though in 2017, but this year’s squad has proven that they can handle the Wildcats, even on an off night.
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TUESDAY (6:30 p.m. EDT)
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There’s no reason to believe that Florida will slip and drop this game. There’s the element of revenge that was discussed with Bethune-Cookman arguably starting the rocky portion of this season. The Gators showed no mercy against USF last Tuesday, so I’m thinking more of the same happens this week.
Prediction: Gators win, 8-3
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