Boston College Heads to Gainesville

The early season schedule was built to test the No. 1 Gators and allow the coaching staff a chance to try different lineups. There are some positions in the field and batting order that will be penciled in the same every game. It's the open positions that head coach Kevin O'Sullivan continues to try finding answers for as Boston College comes to town this weekend.

The spot that looks the most open remains the No. 2 hole in the batting order. Second baseman Josh Adams hit there during all three games over the weekend, but the coaching staff will continue to search for the best answer. The senior, who is hitting .429 (6-14), could provide some depth at the bottom of the order and protection for the top six in the lineup.

If they decide to move Adams down, there are plenty of options to hit second. Daniel Pigott has started the season on a torrid pace, hitting .667 (8-12) in three starts this season. Bryson Smith (.273) and Kamm Washington (.167) could also see time hitting towards the top of the lineup. Smith and Pigott provide right-handed hitters that could separate left-handers Nolan Fontana and Preston Tucker, who will hit first and third respectively in the order. Washington, a left-handed hitter, could get the nod against a right-handed starting pitcher.

The final option would be to move the rest of the lineup a spot higher, which would see Tucker hitting second, Austin Maddox hitting third and Brian Johnson hitting fourth. This is the way O'Sullivan will go if none of the other candidates prove they can handle the job.

"We'll keep toying with that two-hole spots," O'Sullivan said. "We're going to keep trying to find the right fit for that two-hole."

It won't change approaches at the plate. Adams has started out hot, and a change in his place in the lineup won't take him out of the groove he has started the season in.

"Whatever the situation calls for is my job," Adams said. "If coach wants me to bunt, I'll bunt. If he wants me to swing away, I'll swing. There's no different mentality either way."

The multiple options come from players starting the season out well at the plate. Pigott is the team's leading hitter, and not many of his eight hits have come cheaply. He is swinging the bat well to start this season, which has been even more important with outfielder Tyler Thompson missing the first four games because of injury.

Pigott has been dripping with potential since he came to campus. The junior has plenty of speed and aggressiveness on the base paths, but he also provides a power bat that can add extra base hits to the lineup.

"The way he's swinging the bat right now, he's earned the right to stay in (the lineup)," O'Sullivan said. "He's not doing anything different than what I expected. I've expected this since day one. I thought he was going to be an offensive force in this league, and I still believe it. He has a combination of speed and power. I like his aggressiveness on the base paths. He plays the game the right way.

"I anticipated that this was going to happen at some point."

The breakout has come because of adjustments made to his swing in the offseason. The coaches shortened Pigott's swing and made it easier for him to get the barrel of the bat to the ball.

He is also more balanced. Instead of reaching and being impatient on pitches on the outside part of the plate, Pigott is letting the ball travel deeper into his swing and hitting it hard to right field.

"It was just to quiet my swing down and get my trigger back," Pigott said. "We adjusted my hands some, and just a little bit of everything. My swing was okay—it's always been flat."

The mechanical adjustments played a big part in his hot start, but Pigott thinks it was a mental adjustment that made the biggest difference. He isn't constantly analyzing the game in his mind. He is more relaxed at the plate and taking a simpler approach to hitting.

"That's the biggest thing for me," Pigott said. "I have a tendency to over think the game sometimes, and just slow it down and simplify the game makes it easier."

PITCHING ROTATION: The pitching matchups for the weekend series against Boston College have been set.

Thursday will feature Florida left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0, 0.00) against right-hander Mike Dennhardt (0-0, 6.75) at 5 p.m.

Friday will matchup right-hander Hudson Randall (1-0, 1.50) against a Boston College pitcher yet to be determined at 5 p.m.

Sunday will set freshman Karsten Whitson (1-0, 0.00) against Dennhardt at 1 p.m.

Boston College's plan is to throw multiple pitchers for a few innings since they travel to Fort Myers on Saturday to play the Boston Red Sox.

Florida pitchers will be on a pitch count of 75-80.


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