The Gators' season series with FSU ends tonight in Tallahassee at 6pm with the fourth game in the series. Florida (23-8, ranked No. 7 by Baseball America) has lost two of three games against the Seminoles (25-7, No. 6). UF has yet to pick out their starting pitcher. FSU will decide between Geoff Parker (1-0, 7.11) and Scott Sitz (2-0, 1.76). Parker pitched well against UF previously while Sitz has one start in seven appearances.
UF has won five of their last seven games since struggling through a stretch where they lost a series at Ole Miss and got pounded by the Noles in Jacksonville. Last weekend in Tennessee, UF won the series with stout pitching in their wins, allowing only 3 runs in the two wins and 12 runs in their loss. UF has a glaring weakness in their bullpen depth. Closer Kevin Chapman (1-0, 6sv, 1.21) can get you the 9th inning during a midweek game. But Florida is lacking enough guys who can get 2 or 3 innings tonight. If you saw UF's previous games against FSU, it was a merry-go-round of pitchers. Against a normal midweek team like Jacksonville or a random Northern team, UF can do that. FSU has the ability to destroy those pitchers. The Noles are hitting .305 as a team and slugging .438, with 35 homers.
The Gators matchup well with the FSU offense. UF is hitting .300 as a team, slugging .462, but has a .390 OBP, about 30 points lower than the Noles. Florida's Austin Maddox is an example of this. He is tearing the cover off the ball, hitting .356 and leading UF with 9 homers and 37 RBI. But his OBP is .380, with 2 walks and 20 strikeouts. Regulars Matt den Dekker and Josh Adams are at 20+ strikeouts, but both walk enough to make up for it. Since UF can hit well when they want, the Gators keep chasing pitches, which they cannot do tonight. If the Gators lack plate discipline, they won't expose FSU (who has a slightly softer bullpen) and keep pressure on their own soft bullpen. The Gators need to score runs, but be smart about what to swing at.