Tyler Shelnut providing much-needed spark in NCAA Tournament

Throughout the second half of the season, the Gators have struggled to find production from the bottom half of their order, specifically the 7-8-9-hole hitters.

Looking for a spark in the lineup, Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan turned to junior Tyler Shelnut, placing the former infielder in right field to keep his bat in the lineup.

The Sante Fe transfer holds a slash line of .291/.389/.514 with seven home runs across 43 starts in 2023.

Leading up to the NCAA Tournament, Shelnut was just two his last 25 at bats. Since the conclusion of the SEC Tournament, the Lake City, Florida native is 7-19 (.368) at the plate including four RBIs and three runs scored.

In the Gainesville Regional, Shelnut picked up a pair of clutch RBIs on a single to left field in an elimination game against Texas Tech. The 6-2 junior was one of three outfielders selected to the Gainesville All-Tournament Team.

“Kind of just going back to an approach that works for me,” Shelnut said during the Gainesville Regional. “I think I tried to get away from some things that have worked for me in the past and not really being myself and just re-centering my mind and going back to what works for me and just sticking to a good approach.” 

In game one of the Super Regional, Shelnut blasted his seventh home run of the season and first since May 7th against Texas A&M. The right fielder also added a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the eighth after poking an RBI single to left field, giving the Gators a 5-3 lead over the Gamecocks.

“It felt good. I knew it’s frustrating when things like that happen and it just feels like things aren’t really going your way,” Shelnut said after Friday night’s victory. “The biggest thing is to not change too much and just keep being yourself. So, I just kept the mindset that I was just going to keep trying to hit balls hard and eventually something good was going to happen and thankfully it did.” 

Not only is Shelnut swinging the bat well, but he’s getting on base at a .500% clip, leading the Gators in on base percentage throughout the NCAA Tournament. The goal for the bottom of the order is to turn the lineup over for the dangerous 1-4 Gator hitters, something Shelnut has excelled at in recent weeks.

Shelnut has settled in nicely in this potent Gators’ offense, primarily working out of the seven hole.





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.