What do the magic bullet theory, particle physics and long-distance relationships have in common?
They’re all topics that are easier to understand than the Gators baseball team’s offense.
On the surface, Florida’s bats look great. They’ve driven in 76 runs through 10 games, good for 20th best in the nation.
But like Transformers, there’s more than meets the eye to that figure. The 7.6 runs per game UF’s offense averages are inflated after scoring 10 and 19 runs apiece in games against Siena in its opening weekend.
Expecting a team to score 10 or more runs per game is ludicrous. However, UF’s offense remains an anomaly after Wednesday night’s 8-3 win over North Florida. In the fifth inning of that game, the team produced five runs thanks in large part to three colossal homers.
So is Florida a power-hitting team? Before that inning against the Ospreys (3-6), Florida hadn’t hit a ball out of the park since its first game against Miami on Feb. 23. But leading up to that matchup with the Hurricanes, the Gators had smashed at least one dinger in every game. So the dry spell between the Miami series and Wednesday night could be the exception to the rule that the Gators are indeed a power team.
Or is UF more of a small-ball club? In their 4-0 shutout against UNF on Feb. 27, the Gators scored three of their runs on plays that also resulted in outs. In Game 2 against the Hurricanes, Florida scored two runs on bases-loaded walks, and another three on a passed ball, a bases-loaded hit by pitch and a sacrifice fly. Actual hits accounted for just three of the Gators’ eight runs that night.
These are all features of teams that are aggressive on the base paths and not necessarily looking to hit for power. Yet Florida is eighth in the country in total home runs hit (14).
When the Gators take on Stony Brook (6-1) tonight at 6:30 at McKethan Stadium, maybe the two styles of play will harmonize and work in tandem.
Pitcher Greg Marino will take the mound for the Seawolves. He’ll attempt to neutralize what has been an amorphous-yet-effective Florida offense. Marino, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, has given up four earned runs in his nine innings of work. For a little added drama, the redshirt sophomore has not allowed a home run in either of his appearances.
Coach Kevin O’Sullivan doesn’t seem to need to define his offense, choosing instead to get younger players experience as opposed to formulating a set offense.
“We gave some other guys some other opportunities to start (Wednesday),” he said in a release. “All in all, we had a chance to get some other guys in there to pitch and to play, and for the most part it was a clean game.”