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UF baseball coach Kevin O'Sullivan not panicking over Gators' early offensive struggles

Graham Hall
Gator Sports

The Florida baseball team is preaching patience amid another slow start at the plate. 

Having been out-hit by North Florida, eight to six, in Wednesday night’s 3-1 victory over the Ospreys, UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan knows the Gators can’t rely on the combination of their bullpen and defensive prowess to maintain their status as a top-10 power. 

The bats will have to come alive if the Gators hope to reach their lofty goals. 

Florida head baseball coach Kevin O'Sullivan isn't hitting the panic button just yet over his team's offensive struggles. [Cyndi Chambers/ Correspondent/File]]

But O’Sullivan, now in his 15th season with the Florida program, isn’t fearful of the offensive struggles that have marked the first week of the regular season becoming a constant issue throughout the 2022 season. 

“Now is not the time to panic,” he said. “That’s the last thing these players need, is for anyone to press the panic button, because that’s not going to make the situation better.” 

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As the Gators prepare to host Georgia State for a weekend series at Florida Ballpark, beginning with Friday’s first pitch at 6:30 p.m., O'Sullivan is looking back to get a sense of what lies ahead.

“I wish we can play 10 preseason games, like spring training, and go through these struggles early on,” O’Sullivan said. “The fact of the matter is, we don’t have that opportunity. So we have to work through those things, and it’s a process. And getting upset with them, that’s not the answer. The answer is to stay positive and work hard, it’ll come around.”

The Gators didn’t need the bats much late against UNF as Brandon Sproat gave up just one run on four hits before Ryan Slater secured the save for Florida. 

Sproat, who made two starts in 2021, pointed to the trials that marked last season’s 38-win campaign. 

In his experience, a sluggish start from a slugging standpoint is nothing new. 

“We started off slow last year as well, and it’s just one of those things — the bats take the longest to heat up,” Sproat said. “I have confidence in my guys and my offense, so, yeah I know for sure they’ll get going here soon.” 

Considering how quickly things can turn around, there’s little value in premature apprehension. Until then, the Gators are focused on the upcoming opposition, the Panthers. If the subpar swings are a staple of the Gators over the next month, however, then O’Sullivan may begin to worry. 

“I don’t look at the stats right now. Couple weeks from now, then yeah, we’ve got some things to deal with,” he said. “It’s game five of the year, and we play 56, and in my opinion it takes one game for a guy to get three knocks, and then he’s back.” 

Weekend series

Who: Georgia State at Florida

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday

Where: Florida Ballpark

Tickets: floridagators.com/tickets