Friday is supposed to be Brady Singer’s day, Saturday is supposed to be for Jackson Kowar, and Sunday — Sunday is all about Tyler Dyson. The three titans who form UF’s weekend pitching rotation delivered on making every start about them with solid opening-weekend performances all around. But that was expected.
What wasn’t expected was UF’s offense swiping headlines from those elite arms. Not after the Gators ranked 11th in the SEC in batting average last season and finished outside the conference’s top five in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and hits.
Sophomore pitcher Tyler Dyson spiked his pitch into the dirt. The ball skipped between the legs of catcher Cal Greenfield and to his right, al…
That changed when UF scored 36 runs against Siena over the season-opening three-game series, including 19 runs in Sunday’s finale.
“I was really impressed with our offense, obviously,” second baseman Blake Reese said. “I don’t remember putting up 19 runs since I’ve been here.”
Reese was a little off — the Gators scored 20 runs last season against Vanderbilt — but his satisfaction with the offense was echoed by his teammates, especially the aforementioned pitchers, who appreciated the run support.
“The offense helped today with 19 runs,” Dyson said. “I like that.”
Six Florida starters are hitting over .300 after opening weekend, and two more are at .250 or better. Center fielder Nick Horvath is leading the way at .625, while Nelson Maldonado follows at .600, preceded by Reese at .583.
Reese hit .233 last season.
“It’s addicting,” he said of his success to start 2018. “You fail so many times, and all of the sudden you get this burst of euphoria. And you have to learn how to control that. When you do have success, you can’t get too high.”
Which is exactly what coach Kevin O’Sullivan preached after the sweep.
Nobody is going to hit .500 for Florida, and all its players are going to regress to the mean. But still, even O’Sullivan was encouraged.
“It’s a long season,” he said. “Obviously we swung the bats well this weekend.”
Reese, third baseman Jonathan India and first baseman Keenan Bell contributed the most run production with five RBIs each. Outfielders Nelson Maldonado and Wil Dalton were close behind at four.
Five Florida players also hit home runs, with Bell smacking two. He’ll look to continue his success against Florida Atlantic on Tuesday and Bethune Cookman on Wednesday.
After the game, a reporter pointed out that he’s currently on pace to whack about 40 homers.
Bell laughed, acknowledging the absurdity of his — and his team’s — current offensive pace.
“That’d be beautiful,” he said, “wouldn’t it?”