UF baseball hosts unbeaten Miami this weekend


Florida shortstop Richie Martin and the young Gators will look to turn their season around this weekend with unbeaten Miami visiting McKethan Stadium.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 5:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 5:51 p.m.

Based on their records, the weekend rivalry series between Florida and Miami would appear to be a mismatch. The young Gators are 3-6 while the veteran Hurricanes are 9-0.

Facts

Weekend series

Who: Miami (9-0) at Florida (3-6)
Where: McKethan Stadium
Friday: 7 p.m., Sun Sports/WRUF
Saturday: 7:30 p.m., Sun Sports/WRUF
Sunday: 1 p.m., WRUF

The difference in the two teams is simple — Miami is winning the close games, and Florida can't buy a nail-biting win.

The Hurricanes have won all four one-run games they have played. Florida has lost all four.

“There's nothing we can do about anything that's happened,” said Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan. “We're close. We're going to try to focus on the positive things that have happened.”

Like the fact that the Gators have outhit their opponents by 15 points (.272 to .257). Or that they have cleaned up the fielding issues that were a problem earlier in the season.

Or that it's still early. It's a 56-game season, and Florida isn't even a fifth of the way through it. But the Gators could use a win after losing five in a row.

More than anything, they could use a big hit. A bleeder, a blooper, an 18-bouncer that gets through the infield. Anything to drive home a run that wins a game.

“Morally, for the young guys, we need a win,” said Zack Powers, who leads the team with a .393 batting average. “But you always want to win.”

Florida will be trying to bounce back from Tuesday night's frustrating loss against North Florida. In that game, the Gators rallied to tie the game three times only to see UNF score a run in the top of the next inning to retake the lead.

Rebounds may be good for the team across the parking lot at the O'Connell Center, but rebound runs prompted a pitchers-only meeting after the game Wednesday.

“We talked about how we can't give up leads,” said tonight's starter Jonathon Crawford.

Miami will be playing its first games of the season outside of Coral Gables this weekend, and the intensity that always accompanies this series should have players on edge.

Starting with tonight's game, Florida finds out whether this is the weekend that things turn around.

“As soon as we get over the hump,” Powers said, “we're going to be really good.”

O'Sullivan sees that potential in his team despite the fact that it has played 11 true freshmen, the second most in the nation so far this season, as well as two redshirt freshmen.

“They're not that far off,” he said. “Losing is contagious, but winning is as well. All it takes is one good game and things will get rolling in the right direction.”

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