The Florida Gators start their quest for Omaha Friday night facing off against Bethune-Cookman. As the number one overall seed there is no doubt that they carry a big target on their back. This is not a new thing for this Gator baseball team. From being the consensus preseason number one team, to being top ranked for the majority of the season they are used to it.
A lot of teams do not handle this kind of pressure well but this Florida Gators baseball team has been unaffected by all the hype all season. Setting a school record in wins (44), while being the targeted team on every opponents schedule is no small feat. This team has a certain resiliency that is palpable watching them play.
Most teams with similar talent to the Gators don’t have to overcome much adversity throughout the season. Finishing the last two weeks and SEC tournament without your best hitter this season would qualify as adversity. Losing two road series in the SEC (Kentucky, LSU,) would definitely qualify as adverse.
After that Kentucky loss the team bounced back with probably their best week of the season with wins over FSU, and a sweep of then No. 1 ranked Texas A&M. After the LSU series loss the team went straight to Hoover for an unprecedented long road trip for college baseball, and came just 3 innings short of winning the SEC tournament, with their ace Logan Shore throwing just 1 inning. This team has faced adverse situations and bounced back strong.
This is very important to remember heading into the postseason, because there will be situations where things don’t go Florida’s way. They will lose a game this postseason, whether it’s this weekend in the regional, next weekend in the super regional, or in Omaha. That’s why it’s double elimination. You are allowed a slight slip up.
This team has the talent, and more importantly the grit to win the ugly game. To move runners up and drive them in. To make the in game adjustments. That’s why they have earned the billing of the top seed, and why I believe they can go very far and win this tournament. There is nothing quite like postseason baseball, and these Gators are ready to go.