Florida Looks to Avenge Loss to FSU

There isn't a new pregame speech or any pregame changes the Gators will make before hosting No. 3 Florida State on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The team knows they just have to play better. The Seminoles have beaten No. 1 Florida in five of the last six meetings, including a 5-3 defeat in the season opener in Tampa on March 1.

"If you guys have any suggestions… I don't know what to say," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan quipped about what differently to say to his team before Tuesday's game. "We've got to play ball. We've got to play better. Florida State has played better than we have, and it's as simple as that. They have a very good team, but so do we. We just have to play better. There's nothing more to it."

The Gators will start left-hander Alex Panteliodis (1-0, 4.66), making his second start of the year. His first start came last Wednesday at USF, and the junior went five innings, allowing five hits, one run and four strikeouts. He hit two batters and picked up the win.

It was an important start for Panteliodis to get back in a groove after a sophomore season that saw him win 11 games. He had hip surgery in the offseason that kept him from facing live hitters in the offseason until a few weeks before the first game of the year.

Florida State will counter with right-hander Hunter Scantling (1-0, 0.00). The junior has made one start this season and thrown nine innings, allowing no runs, three hits and recording seven strikeouts. Scantling hasn't walked a batter this season.

Scantling posted a 4.47 ERA last season after throwing 46.1 innings last year and allowing 46 hits. The 6-8 right-hander also walked 13 batters. It's early in the season, but this looks to be a year that Scantling is putting it all together.

The Florida players know the importance of this game. They lost three of the four regular season games against Florida State last season, and then the Seminoles won a matchup at the College World Series to end Florida's season. The loss in Tampa was tough, but the Gators know they need to turn the tables. Playing at home is a perfect opportunity to do that.

"We're playing here at home, and we're pretty good at home," senior second baseman Josh Adams said. "It's our rival. There will always be a little more pep in everybody's step when we play that game. We're playing well right now. We'll be ready and put up a good fight."

The Florida State offense is led by similar names. Senior outfielder Mike McGee is hitting .411 with three home runs and 19 RBIs, while leadoff hitter Devon Travis is hitting .367 with two home runs and 16 RBIs. First baseman Jayce Boyd is hitting .310 with one home run and 18 RBIs.

The Gators head to Baton Rouge this weekend to take on No. 5 in the opening weekend of SEC play. This looks to be the toughest week on Florida's schedule, and getting it off to a positive start against Florida State on Tuesday night would go a long way.

Fightin Gators Top Stories