Florida With Two Midweek Games This Week

After a sweep of the instate rival Miami Hurricanes, the No. 1 Gators return to action for a pair of midweek games trying to retain momentum. It comes against two smaller programs, starting with Georgia Southern (7-5) on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. Florida will then travel to play USF (5-5) in Tampa on Wednesday night.

The Gators welcome Georgia Southern on Tuesday after the Eagles lost a three-game series at home to St. John's over the weekend. It will be the team's second road game of the season, with their first meeting coming in an 11-3 midweek loss at North Florida last week.

The Eagles do have one key midweek win already on their resume. They split a midweek series with Georgia Tech during the first midweek of the season. The Eagles won the opening game 6-5 before losing the second one 7-4.

The Georgia Southern offense has gotten off to a hot start in the early season. They are batting .312 as a team and bring in five everyday starters that are hitting over .310. Victor Roache is hitting .311, but his four home runs will be the most of any player on the field in Tuesday's matchup. Steve Cochrane also has three home runs. Eric Phillips (.488) and Michael Burruss (.453) have gotten off to a hot start as well.

The nine home runs for the Eagles are three more than the Gators have hit this season.

The difference between the two teams comes on the mound. Florida brings a team ERA of 1.91 into the game, while Georgia Southern is at 4.00.

The Gators will start left-hander Nick Maronde (0-0, 3.86) on the mound against Georgia Southern pitcher Chris Beck (1-0, 2.12). The Eagles are expected to throw multiple pitchers to keep them fresh for their weekend series.

First pitch Tuesday is set for 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Gators will face a USF team that they have plenty of familiarity with. Florida swept the Bulls in the opening series of the weekend.

The Gators are expected to start left-hander Alex Panteliodis (0-0, 7.71) in his first start of the season after winning 11 games last year. He has struggled in the early going this season, allowing seven hits and four runs in 4.2 innings pitched. The Bulls have not announced their starter.

The Bulls have a .225 batting average as a team and don't have a starter that is batting over .295.

The game was also made more important last Tuesday after USF catcher Andrew Longley made a comment when the Bulls defeated Miami at the Florida Four, just over a week after the Bulls were swept in Gainesville.

"We know we're the best team in Florida," Longley said. "No doubt about it. Florida got away with a couple ones (in the opening weekend series). We should have put them away."

First pitch against the Bulls on Wednesday is set for 7 p.m.


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