Florida center fielder Blake Reese at bat during the opening game of the weekend series against Columbia at McKethan Stadium.

UF Roundup: Sunshine State Showdown at Mac

Special to the Sun
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 7:00 AM

Florida will find out real quick if last week's struggles are a thing of the past. The Gators, coming off a 2-3 stretch that included two home losses and knocked them three spots down to No. 5 in the D1Baseball rankings, face top-ranked Florida State at 6:30 p.m. today at McKethan Stadium.

"We've just got to get our offense going," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "We will. But it is getting to a point now where we're going to have to settle in on a lineup. We've given a lot of guys different chances and we'll settle in on the 10-12 guys and we'll go with it and continue to work at it.”

The Gators (12-5) have owned the series against the Seminoles (13-3) of late, winning seven of the last eight, including 5-1 last year. The 'Noles will start redshirt sophomore right-hander Andrew Karp (0-0, 2.41 ERA) on the mound, while the Gators will go with freshman righty Nate Brown (1-0, 6.75 ERA).

FSU is coming off a doubleheader sweep of Boston College, 11-1 and 13-0.

“When you play the way we played, it makes us, as a staff, very proud,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “The games were very important, as all conference games are. Our guys came out and got it done.

“I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us.”

The game will be carried on the radio at 103.7-FM and online at SEC Network+. The teams will play again March 28 in Jacksonville and April 11 in Tallahassee.


Another highly ranked opponent for Gators

The No. 3 Florida lacrosse team (5-1) will wrap up a stretch of four games in nine days today when it hosts No. 5 Syracuse. The opening draw is set for 1 p.m. at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

Florida (5-1) enters with a five-game winning streak, including win over No. 3 Southern California, No. 16 Towson, and No. 7 Stony Brook. Florida has been balanced offensively through the first six games of the season, as four Gators have between 22 and 28 points (Sammi Burgess, Shayna Pirreca, Sydney Pirreca, and Mollie Stevens). Stevens also leads the team with 38 draw controls. Sophomore goalkeeper Haley Hicklen has anchored the Gator defense, with 50 saves and a .481 save percentage this season.

After posting a 7-0 record to start the season, Syracuse lost Saturday to No. 1 Maryland, 17-7. Junior attacker Riley Donahue (13 goals, 11 assists) and freshman goalkeeper Asa Goldstock (58 saves, .472 save percentage) lead the Orange.

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