Florida is the Nation's New No. 1
Fresh off of a three-game sweep over the (former) No. 1 Miami Hurricanes (4-3), there's a new best baseball team in America.
According to D1Baseball.com, the Florida Gators (8-0) are the nation's new No. 1 baseball team. And with a not-so-daunting schedule ahead, it's hard to imagine the Gators losing that spot any time soon.
Here is what the D1Baseball staff had to say about Florida's bump up to No. 1.
2020 marks the first season that the Gators have opened a season 8-0 under head coach Kevin O'Sullivan, following the weekend sweep over Miami. As O'Sullivan discussed prior to the season opener, the Gators were looking pretty good from a batting perspective, which has carried over into the season.
Florida is currently batting .287 across 296 team at-bats, and averaging 8.1 runs per game. Seasoned veterans, second-year players, and even freshmen are emerging, such as Nathan Hickey who is averaging .286 and has posted six runs over 21 plate appearances. Sophomore outfielder Jacob Young was the weekend standout, going 7-13 and sending in two runs, including a go-ahead RBI double in the 11th inning in Friday's 2-1 victory. Young looks to build upon a successful freshman campaign when he ranked third on the team among qualifying batters with a .311 batting average.
Much of the same can be said of Florida's pitching, which appears to be dramatically improved from a year ago. Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich have both served Florida well as weekend starters, combining to strike out 28 over 92 at-bats. Leftwich is posting a 0.75 ERA across 12 innings pitched.
Freshman Hunter Barco enjoyed his first victory over the weekend to close the Miami series, striking out seven and allowing only two hits and one run across six innings in Florida's 5-3 victory.
The bullpen has seen growth as well, notably carrying Florida for 7.2 innings without allowing a run against Jacksonville, when freshman shortstop Isaac Nunez hit a walk-off double on his first career hit in the 10th inning.
Florida is one of 10 SEC teams in the NCAA Top 25, followed by No. 2 Vanderbilt (6-2), No. 4 Georgia (7-1), No. 6 Arkansas (7-0), and No. 8 Mississippi State (5-1) joining the Gators in the top ten alone.
The Gators will next face Florida A&M on Tuesday at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, at 6 P.M. The game will be available on SEC Network Plus.