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Gator Baseball Charges Into Danger With Miami Series

It's Miami vs. Florida. You know what that means.

The No. 12 Gators (5-0) look solid heading into their test with No. 10 Miami (3-1). After a sweep of very potent Louisville, the Gators took a mid-week series against Eastern Michigan. Florida is hitting .343 as a club, with five starters hitting better than .300. Seniors Brandon McArthur has 8 RBI and Avery Barnes has a .600 OBP.

The saying is, "Good pitching beats good hitting," and Florida has that. The Gators will go back to last weekend's rotation of senior RHP Patrick Keating (2.57 ERA, 7 IP), and a pair of freshmen southpaws; Alex Panteliodis (3.00 ERA, 5 IP) and Nick Maronde (0.00 ERA, 5.1 IP). The Gators have also done a good job of having their weekend starters get at least five innings, while using the weekday games to build up the bullpen strength.

But Miami, just like every year, is a different beast. College baseball is like college football in the sense that there are guys who are pro-prospects who play with guys who clearly aren't. Teams like Miami and FSU are stacked with pro-prospects, something UF has lacked. The Canes throw one of those guys, All-American sophomore Chris Hernandez (1.50 ERA, 6 IP), Friday night. The southpaw is 12-0 in his career and had seven strikeouts in the Canes opener against Rutgers. Miami is hitting .336 and is, as usual, led by a great catcher. This time it is former Red Sox draft pick Yasmani Grandal, who has a .769 OBP and two homers (Grandal did not start in UM's second game last Saturday). Another standout, SS Ryan Jackson is doing a good job setting the table with five runs scored.

This weekend's series against Florida's traditional rival (Florida and UM were playing annually when FSU was still a girls' school) will not make or break the season. However, it usually is a good measurement for how good the Gators will do this season. If UF takes two of three, the Gators might be a very good ballclub this season.