The Florida baseball team already had a tough week ahead of it before receiving a piece of bad news on Monday.
Leadoff hitter and shortstop Richie Martin will be out for three to four weeks after suffering a broken finger in Sunday’s game against Miami.
Martin left the game in the fourth inning when he was hit by a pitch as he attempted to bunt.
Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan described the injury briefly to a gathering of reporters after the game, saying Martin’s hand had swelled up almost instantly.
Despite being just a freshman, Martin was a key cog in the Gators’ lineup, riding a 10-game hitting streak, including a double in the third inning of Sunday’s game — the first extra-base hit of his career.
The speedy Martin was hitting .327 on the season, and had stolen three bases on three attempts.
Florida (5-7) has five games on tap this week, starting with a trip to Jacksonville (4-7) on Tuesday.
Martin was replaced in the lineup on Sunday by senior Cody Dent, who in two plate appearances, laid a sacrifice bunt and later, grounded out.
Replacing Martin’s bat and ability to get on base (he’s reached safely in every game this season) won’t be the only issue. The Brandon, Fla. native was a reliable fielder as well, helping Florida to error free performances in five of its last seven games.
Tuesday will be Florida’s second road game of the season. The Gators will throw Justin Shafer (0-1, 6.75) against the sharks, and it will be Shafer’s third start of the year.
Game-time is set for 6 p.m. The Sharks will return the trip on Wednesday at 7 p.m.