No. 2 Florida Gators travel to Arkansas

The No. 2 Florida Gators (30-5, 8-4 SEC) take their show on the road for a rare three-game series that begins on Thursday. The Gators traveled to Arkansas (21-12, 4-8 SEC) after clinching a season sweep of rival FSU on Tuesday night in Tallahassee. This trip marks the halfway point of Florida’s conference schedule.

Thursday — 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Friday — 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network +)
Saturday — 3 p.m. (SEC Network +)
*All times are Eastern Standard

Last Week

The Gators suffered their first loss at McKethan Stadium in 30 games with a loss to Mississippi State on Saturday and dropped the series with another loss on Sunday. Florida rebounded with a win over Florida State on Tuesday.

The Razorbacks traveled to Oxford and were swept by Ole Miss (7-3, 14-9, 8-7). Arkansas won its weekday matchup over Memphis 12-4, but an early season sweep of Auburn is their only SEC series win on the season.


Scouting Arkansas

The Razorbacks has had a rough go of it in conference play this season and Florida will be their toughest test to date. The Razorbacks are 17-5 at home this season.

Team Batting Average: .287
Team ERA: 4.55
Starters ERA: 5.73


Hitters to Watch

UTL Carson Shaddy — Shaddy, who plays outfield, third and catches, leads the team with a .356 batting average, 64 total bases and 42 hits. He’s started 31 games and appeared in 32-of-33.

OF Luke Bonfield — The outfielder is second on the team with seven home runs and leads all starters with a .441 on base percentage.


Scouting Florida

Florida will get A.J. Puk back on the mound for the first time in over a week after he left his last start due to back spasms. Florida really needs to get good starts this weekend.

Team Batting Average: .299
Team ERA: 2.95
Starters ERA: 3.33


Pitching Matchups

Thursday: Junior LHP A.J. Puk (1-2, 3.38 ERA) vs. junior RHP Dominic Taccolini (3-1, 5.31 ERA)

Puk returns to the mound for the first time since April 3, when he left after just 11 pitches with back spasms. Puk being able to return and pitch on Thursday allows Shore and Faedo to keep their normal routines, despite the series starting a day early.

Taccolini threw 3.2 innings last Sunday out of the bullpen against Ole Miss. The junior allowed three runs (all earned) on four hits and struck out four on 65 pitches.


Friday matchup: Junior RHP Logan Shore (6-0, 2.66 ERA) vs. sophomore RHP Keaton McKinney (1-1, 6.25 ERA)

Shore lasted 5.2 innings last Friday night against Mississippi State. The junior gave up two runs on eight hits. Florida is 8-0 when Shore is on the mound.

McKinney also pitched out of the bullpen last weekend against Ole Miss, giving up two runs over two innings.

Saturday: Sophomore RHP Alex Faedo (6-1, 3.97 ERA) vs. TBD

Faedo suffered his first loss of the season last Sunday, allowing a career-high nine earned runs on ten hits over five innings. Faedo looks to rebound from his worst start of the season with a strong start on the road.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC