When the Rattlers last came to town, Florida sat fresh off a midweek upset to Florida A&M and desperately needed momentum. The Gators promptly dismantled Florida A&M for three straight days to steady themselves.
Florida lies in a better position prior to Wednesday’s rematch with three wins in four games, but it hopes for a similar result.
Florida will host Florida A&M Wednesday night, a month after a weekend sweep, as the Gators look for their 20th win of the season.
The early series between these two teams reminded less of a competition and more of a slaughter. Florida outscored the Rattlers 23-3 and won two games by eight runs.
Left fielder Jacob Young should recall the series fondly. He recorded his 30th straight game with a hit in the series finale, a new program record. He tallied five hits across the three games of the series.
Freshman Colby Halter blossomed into the star of the batter’s box that series. He knocked six hits and plated six RBIs, highlighted by a Friday grand slam. He brought home a run in all three games, the only player in the series to do so.
Florida A&M can be grateful for one thing: they won’t face the same rotation of Florida arms as last month.
The Gators trotted out the weekend cycle of Tommy Mace, Jack Leftwich and Hunter Barco in March, and the trio bullied the Rattlers the whole weekend. The trio combined for 10 ten hits, three earned runs and 22 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched.
For the Rattles, junior outfielder LJ Bryant excelled at the plate this year. He batted a team-high .350, the only player with a batting average above .300. His 1.003 OPS is the second-highest of any player on either team, and he also led the Rattlers with a .538 slugging percentage, a .465 on-base percentage, seven doubles, 18 RBIs and 15 walks.
Bryant earned just a single hit, a Sunday double, in 11 at-bats against Florida a month ago.
Junior outfielder Grant Rowell impressed in his last trip to Florida Ballpark. He amassed five hits, including two doubles, a triple and a home run. No other Rattler smashed more than two extra-base hits.
Florida A&M struggled on the mound so far this season. The team ERA soared to 6.19 with a 1.74 WHIP, and it averaged 7.4 Ks per nine innings. The Rattlers surrendered 9.92 hits and 6.42 runs per game. They allowed two runs in every single game and more than 10 runs seven times.
Florida’s quest for a fourth win over Florida A&M this season begins Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Contact Ryan Haley at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ryan_dhaley
Ryan Haley is a second-year journalism major with a sports & media specialization from Jacksonville, Florida. He grew up playing a bunch of different sports before settling on golf, following Rory McIlroy and all Philadelphia sports teams. He also loves all things fiction, reading, watching shows and movies and talking about whatever current story or character is in his head.