Sophomore right-hander Aaron Rhodes was one of five players name to Louisville Slugger’s National Players of the week following his complete game, one-hit shutout of visiting Missouri on Saturday. Rhodes joined RHP Thomas Eshelman (Cal State Fullerton), 1B Alexander Lee (Radford), LHP Carlos Rodon (NC State) and LF Kurt Wertz (Towson) in being recognized by the publication.
This is the first time that Rhodes has been given the honor and he becomes the first Gator pitcher to be picked since Brian Johnson in 2011.
Rhodes performance was the first complete game for any Gator pitcher this season and his one allowed hit was the least hits a Gator pitcher has given up in a complete game since Jonathon Crawford’s no hitter against Bethune-Cookman.
Rhodes has earned a spot in the weekend rotation this season with a 5-2 record and 2.08 ERA.
Huge Series upcoming
The Gators head to Tuscaloosa this weekend for a three game set with SEC west leader Alabama (tied with LSU and Ole Miss). Florida currently leads South Carolina by three games with nine conference games left on the schedule.
The Gators will take on Alabama, Vanderbilt (four games back) and Tennessee (7 games back) to finish the season.
With a slim lead and a difficult road ahead, the series this weekend is a huge opportunity for the Gators. South Carolina plays host to Kentucky this weekend and the Wildcats’ bite is not nearly as fierce on the road as it is in the bandbox they play at in Lexington.
Taking two games this weekend is important for overall seeding heading into the SEC Championship.
Florida moved up from No. 9 to No. 4 in the country in the Perfect Game Top-25. The Gators also jumped up one spot from No. 6 to No. 5 in Baseball America’s poll but were stagnant in the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 12.
Alabama is ranked No. 20 in the Coaches Poll.