Offensive Rebound Underway For FloridaColumns
NASHVILLE — It’s tempting to form sweeping conclusions when negative trends linger past the midway point of the regular season. So plenty of people have already read eulogy’s for the Florida offense.
The Gators are hitting .246 (247th in the nation) — they can’t hit. The Gators are scoring 4.6 runs per game (238th in the nation) — their offense is terrible. Deacon Liput is hitting .227; Dalton Guthrie is hitting .233; JJ Schwarz is hitting .244; Jonathan India is hitting .234. I guess those guys were overrated.
But those guys didn’t just forget how to hit. They’re all extremely talented players with long track records of hitting; it was only a matter of time before they found their groove and the Florida offense took off. If a big league team scuffles for 30 games, we chalk it up to a bad month and dismiss it as a small sample size. If a college team struggles for the same amount of games, everybody abandons ship.
Sometimes a little extra patience and sense of perspective is required when good players on good teams go through funks. Better days can be right around the corner — and for the Florida offense, maybe those better days have begun this week.
After scoring 10 runs in a Tuesday win at Florida State, the Gators pounded out 17 hits in a come-from-behind 10-6 in Thursday’s series opener at Vanderbilt. For a while, the Gators were able to put plenty of men on base but couldn’t get the big hits to drive them in. But instead of falling into despair, Florida kept pounding away, and it finally broke through with five runs in the ninth to surge ahead for the victory.
“The bats I always knew were going to come around at some point. It was frustrating for everybody, but we have the personnel to hit,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Even if we had lost tonight, that was going to be my message — you start thinking what you’re going to say if you end up losing another one-run ballgame and everybody’s disappointed — ‘You’re starting to show signs. You’re starting to show signs. Everybody’s starting to contribute.’ I said all along, I think we have length up and down our lineup, I really do. But for whatever reason, the first 25 games of the year, we just got out of the gate a little slow. But this one game is not gonna define us. I’m not comfortable enough to say, ‘We’re back’ offensively, but it was a really good night offensively for us.”
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