The Gators still have a nice record, but losses in three of their last four games have put a bad taste in their mouths. Tonight, UF (18-6, 4-2, No. 8) hopes home cooking against Vanderbilt (23-4, 4-2, No. 17) will cleanse their pallet.
Tuesday night, the Gators lost 7-2 to FSU in Jacksonville, which followed a 1-2 series loss at Ole Miss last weekend. Friday night's starter Alex Panteliodis (5-1, 2.03) continues to pitch well, including allowing 3 runs in 7.1 innings in his first loss at Ole Miss last Friday. Saturday, freshman Brian Johnson (2-1, 3.42) will pitch after winning the only game last weekend against the Rebels.
Sunday's starter Hudson Randall (2-2, 5.00) is the guy who needs to step up his game for Florida. With Tommy Toledo still recovering from being struck by a line drive in the face, Randall and Anthony DeSclafani (2-1, 7.84) are the only options for Sundays. Both got lit up last Saturday at Ole Miss (each allowed five runs) and have been slow to improve. It's not time to panic yet, but UF can't just give up on Sunday games and go with "starter-by-committee" for weekdays. Coach Kevin O'Sullivan was a pitching coach, so he knows how to handle his guys. He will make his money this year if he can coax a few quality starts out of Randall and DeSclafani.
Vanderbilt swept Kentucky last weekend and is hitting .340 as a team, second in the SEC. UF is hitting .306, fifth in the league, but has been slumping lately. UF is hitting .246 in their last four games, leaving 34 men on and scored seven runs in their three losses (13 in the win). The team believes it's a matter of focus, rather than simply slumping. The Gators are a young team, and it's good that they are taking responsibility.