CWS Primer: Florida Gators
Gators Back For Round Three
Omaha History: 8th CWS appearance, 0 Titles
Team Overview: The number one overall seed is back in the College World Series for the third year in a row. The Gators are a rare team that can get it done on the mound and at the plate. Florida ranks seventh in the nation with a 2.90 ERA, and they lead the country with 75 homeruns. That last number averages out to more than one homerun per game. They are stacked with talent from top to bottom. Eight Gators were selected in the first nine rounds of this year’s MLB draft. Five Florida players will enter the CWS with averages over .300. And their pitching staff is stocked with plenty of power arms. They are a team with no glaring weaknesses and plenty of strengths.
Road To Omaha: The Gators faced no problems in regional and super regional play. They went undefeated in their regional. They also swept N.C. State in the super regionals.
Players To Watch: There’s plenty of big names to watch on this team, and none are bigger than catcher Mike Zunino. He’s a Golden Spikes Award finalist. He was the third overall pick in this year’s MLB draft, which makes him the highest selected catcher ever. And he’s an absolute monster at the plate. He’s hitting .322 with nineteen homeruns and 64 RBI on the year. CWS fans will also want to check out lefty relief pitcher Steven Rodriguez. He was a second round draft pick this year, and his numbers are insane. He struck out 80 batters in just 61.2 innings. Opponents are hitting a measley .211 against him.
Will Take Home The Title If…: If the Gators play up to their skill level they will bring home the first title in school history. They are the clear favorites and the most talented team in the field. They were the runners-up last year, and they return almost every key contributor from that team. Anything less than a title would be a disappointment.
A Quick Trip If: If the Gators bats can’t conquer TD Ameritrade’s large dimensions. Their pitching is very good, but they score many of their runs off the long ball. TD Ameritrade is not a homer-friendly ball park. A couple bad offensive performances could give the Gators flashbacks to the quick 2010 outing.
Why Omaha Should Cheer For Them: If this hilarious video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DapU7OSx-A) doesn’t convince you to cheer for them then there’s nothing else I can do that will convince you.