Luke McNeillie Earns SEC Freshman of the Week Honors

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida right-handed pitcher Luke McNeillie was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday, as announced by the SEC office.

Earning his first-career weekly SEC accolade, McNeillie was lights out against No. 21 Mississippi State this past weekend. The freshman righty earned both of Florida’s wins en route to a series victory, going 2-0 on the week with 4 1/3 shutout innings, six strikeouts, zero walks and just two hits allowed.

McNeillie struck out the side in the ninth inning in game one against the Bulldogs, holding the score as the Gators proceeded to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth. In the series finale, McNeillie fired the final 3 1/3 innings to earn the win, blanking Mississippi State as Florida delivered yet another walk-off winner.

As a result, McNeillie has now strung together five-consecutive scoreless outings spanning ten innings. In that time, he has fanned 14 batters while issuing four walks.

“You’ve kind of seen it, this is four or five outings in a row he pitched good. You can’t emphasize enough the pitches that he made,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said on McNeillie’s progression.

It didn’t always look this pretty for McNeillie, though. To start the season, the Milton, Georgia native allowed 16 earned runs across 8.2 innings pitched, failing to get past the first inning in starts against Stetson and UCF in that span.

“I think it took him a little bit to get started, being so young,” veteran catcher Tanner Garrison said on McNeillie. “He started off a little slow, couple of those starts maybe he was a little nervous, but his stuff is just so good. We’ve been telling him ‘we want your best stuff from the first pitch’.”

“I can’t be more proud of Luke,” teammate Jac Caglianone said on McNeillie. “He’s came such a long way and he just needs to continue to do that, be the guy we can all look towards coming out of the pen and just do his job, he’s done exactly that.”

It seems as if McNeillie has completely turned the corner from his early season struggles, which he credits to attacking hitters and getting ahead in the count.

“Really it’s just attacking hitters,” McNeillie said on what changed for him. ” I was falling behind hitters early on and I was leaving balls up in the zone when I was getting behind.”

McNeillie and the Gators return to action on Tuesday against Florida A&M at 6:30 pm. The home matchup will stream on SEC Network+.



Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.