Florida Hosts Wildcats on Tuesday

The first step towards improvement in midweek games begins Tuesday night for the No. 1 Gators when Bethune-Cookman makes the trip to Gainesville. After going 6-7 in midweek games last season, Florida will face a challenge, as the Wildcats will send their ace to the mound.

Bethune-Cookman will send sophomore right-hander Scott Garner (0-0, 4.50) to the mound against Florida right-hander John Magliozzi (0-0, 0.00). First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

Magliozzi threw one scoreless inning in Sunday's series finale where he gave up two hits. The freshman gave up two hits in the five batters he faced before head coach Kevin O'Sullivan pulled him to keep his pitch count low enough for him to start Tuesday.

Magliozzi's fastball can sit in the low 90s while using an above average changeup and solid 12-6 curveball to keep hitters honest. Command of those pitches will be the key, as Magliozzi struggled to consistently control them through fall and spring scrimmages.

It will be Garner's second start of the season. The Wildcats started him on the mound in their season opening game against Florida Gulf Coast on Friday. Garner went four innings, allowing four hits, three runs (two earned) and one walk while also recording six strikeouts. Bethune-Cookman won two-of-three games against Florida Gulf Coast, who comes to Gainesville for a three-game series March 9-11.

For the Gators, Tuesday night will be focused on jumpstarting the offense. Florida scored just 17 runs in three games over the weekend. While they did challenge themselves with a tough opponent to start the season, the Gators had a .284 batting average and .352 on-base percentage with only seven extra base hits.

"I saw our guys swinging the bat really, really well against our own pitching for a long period of time here," O'Sullivan said after Sunday's loss to Cal State Fullerton. "In my mind, we're a much better offensive team than we showed this weekend. We've got some work to do."

The Wildcats were worse on offense. They hit .206 as a team with just five extra base hits and no home runs. The Bethune-Cookman hitters struck out 27 times in three games, averaging one per inning. The Wildcats scored just ten runs in their weekend series.

Third baseman Jairo Acevedo had a big weekend for the Wildcats. He went 5-12 (.417) with three runs scored and one RBI on a double and a triple. Left fielder Josh Johnson (.333) and right fielder David Lee (.333) are the only two other players who came out of the weekend hitting over .300.

The difference between the two teams on paper might be defense. The Gators made just one error in their first three games, coming as second baseman Casey Turgeon had the ball slip out of his hand and go into the first base dugout. Bethune-Cookman made six errors in their three weekend games, led by two from first baseman Nick Johnson.

Florida plays another midweek game on Wednesday when UCF makes the trip to Gainesville. The Gators are expected to start sophomore right-hander Jonathon Crawford (0-1, 99.00) against the Knights.

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