Gators back in the swing of things

Florida junior Avery Barnes had a dreamlike game against Tennessee in 2007, hitting a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, in a 20-2 win.

Sun file photo
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 1, 2008 at 12:48 a.m.

Five things to look for as the Florida baseball team holds its first practice under new coach Kevin O'Sullivan today beginning at 2:30 p.m. at McKethan Stadium.

1. Who's on first?

Redshirt senior Brandon McArthur will move across the diamond to first base this season. McArthur has spent most of his UF career at third base, but also played some second base two years ago. McArthur missed all of last season after suffering an elbow injury on opening day.

2. Check out those caps

Florida will no longer sport the interlocking "U" and "F" on the team's caps this season. Instead, the blue hats will feature an orange "F". The change was made not by new coach Kevin O'Sullivan, but the University Athletic Association.

3. Catchers will have freedom to call pitches

In the Pat McMahon era, pitching coach Ross Jones signaled in each pitch from the dugout. New coach Kevin O'Sullivan has a different philosophy. Pitches will be called by Florida's catchers this season, which should result in a faster paced game while the Gators are in the field.

4. Here's the starting lineup

Florida opens practice with a pretty decent idea of what its starting lineup will look like. Here it is: Catcher, Hampton Tignor; first base, Brandon McArthur; second base, Clayton Pisani; shortstop, Cole Figueroa; third base, Jon Townsend; left field, Avery Barnes; center field, Matt den Dekker; right field, Jonathan Pigott.

5. No LaPorta, no power?

With the school's all-time home run king, Matt LaPorta, now gone, Florida isn't expected to be a power-hitting team this season. The Gators return only three players who hit more than three home runs last season. They are Cole Figueroa (11), Matt den Dekker (7) and Jon Townsend (6).

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