Baseball stays busy despite break from games


Florida baseball coach Kevin O'Sullivan, left, watches catcher Teddy Foster at practice. O'Sullivan has put the canceled Florida Gulf Coast series behind him.

JARRETT BAKER/Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 12:05 a.m.

There was no opponent in the first base dugout or any fans in the stands Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium.

Nonetheless, the once-again surging Florida Gators took the field for an intrasquad scrimmage, hoping to keep the momentum of last weekend's series win over Georgia alive.

"There's a new energy around here," shortstop Cole Figueroa said. "You could tell at practice (Tuesday) everyone was back on high hopes."

Florida was hoping it could keep riding that wave of momentum this week when Florida Gulf Coast was scheduled to visit McKethan Stadium for games Tuesday and Wednesday night. The series, however, was cancelled Monday because of a scheduling error that prohibits SEC teams from playing non-league games during final exam periods.

It was evident the Gators wished they were playing someone other than themselves on Wednesday night.

"I felt like we were getting into a groove a little bit and playing well," second baseman Josh Adams said. "If we would have played those two games, we feel like we would have played well. But it's not up to us to decide when we come out and play."

Gator coach Kevin O'Sullivan, meanwhile, has already put the situation in the past. He said the cancellation will give his pitching staff a rest, but the series would have afforded several pitchers the chance to get some valuable work.

"It did (give us a rest)," he said. "But there were some guys who also needed to throw as well. I'm not going to look at it as a positive or negative. We'll deal with it. There's nothing we can really do about it."

Florida's series win over Georgia puts the Gators (27-16, 12-9 SEC) 3 games behind SEC leader Georgia (15-5-1). However, the Gators are also just one game out of last place in the jumbled SEC East. Florida, Vanderbilt (11-9), Kentucky (11-10), South Carolina (11-10) and Tennessee (11-10) are all one game within each other.

The Gators are just excited about getting to Columbia, S.C., and getting back out on the field.

"We've been motivated all week," Figueroa said. "We want to get games under us. When you're winning, there's a different kind of feeling around the ballpark, especially when you get a big win from a rival school."

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