In a long-awaited rematch, No. 5 Florida will face fierce rivals No. 16 Florida State (10-3) in a two-game series Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium and Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida.
Florida’s 5-2 win over FSU marked its last game before the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Statistical analysis places the Gators as the favorite as they boast a .321 batting average and a cumulative .81 ERA into Friday’s matchup. FSU brings a .263 batting average and a 2.77 ERA.
Florida head coach Tim Walton said he feels unsatisfied with the .325 average the team held Tuesday. To Walton, the Gators need to worry about improving regardless of who they play.
Any sports fan knows that rivalry games create a breeding ground for the unexpected. The Gators’ excitement must yield to focus and execution..
“We’re gonna take it one pitch at a time, one game at a time,” left fielder Jaimie Hoover said.
All of FSU’s losses occurred against ranked opponents: two against No. 15 Virginia Tech and one against then-No. 24 Missouri. The Seminoles did manage a 9-2 takedown of the Tigers, who have since improved to No. 18.
Undefeated Florida hasn’t yet clashed with a ranked opponent.
The Gators defeated New Mexico State 6-2 Wednesday, bookended by Hoover and Hannnah Adams home runs in the first and sixth innings. The duo consistently contribute at the plate with .387 and .512 batting averages, respectively.
Walton cycled through three pitchers against the Aggies. He kicked off with Rylee Trlicek for two innings, then Elizabeth Hightower and Natalie Lugo for the save in the seventh.
“There’s a whole staff that can get the job done,” Lugo said. “We really push one another to be at our best.”
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and can be streamed on SEC Network. Saturday’s game is set for 6 p.m. and will stream on ACC Network Plus.
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