He was sick of dealing with contacts and remembered about a clear pair of Oakley glasses sitting in his locker. He need them during fall practice when he had an eye infection, so he took batting practice in them against USF.
After a 1-14 opening weekend at the plate against Rhode Island, the glasses couldn’t have made things worse. Reed liked the way he felt at the plate in batting practice, and he was able to track the ball well in the air while wearing them before the game.
Reed totaled three hits that night in Tampa, and since trying the glasses, he’s hitting .458 (11-24) and providing an important spark in the two-hole of the Florida lineup. His .071 batting average after the first three games of the year is already up to .316 as the Gators (7-1) prepare for a three-game series with Stony Brook this weekend.
“There was a difference,” Florida center fielder Buddy Reed said. “With contacts, you’re constantly putting your fingers on the lense itself and putting it in your eye. Sometimes it’d be a little blurry. I could obviously see, but with the glasses, I think it’s more clear.”
The glasses are new for Reed on the baseball field. He used to wear goggles that helped him see when he played hockey as a kid, but it was always back to the contacts when he played baseball.
The change might not have happened without that rough first week of the season. That left Reed searching for something different. He hit balls hard that weekend against Rhode Island, just missing his first career home run and lining out to second base in the third game of the series.
None of that showed up in the box score, and he carried that 1-14 into the midweek game. It was hard to forget about.
“No one wants to go 1-14 in a home series, but you’ve got to know who you are and be a team player when you’re down,” Reed said. “I was trying to do too much. It’s a new season, new players, new fans and I think I got out of who I was in the moment. Now I’ve settled down and come out here to play every day.
“Baseball is a mental game. You’re always going to have ups and downs. You always have to have your mindset be the same, knowing you’re always confident in yourself and your teammates. You have to be the same player as when you’re down.”
Since putting them on, Reed has a trio of three-hit game in the last five. It left Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan with only one question.
“I didn’t know why it didn’t happen earlier,” O’Sullivan said with a laugh. “Hindsight is 20-20, but he certainly has been swinging the bat better since he got those glasses. He’s had a good couple weeks, seeing the ball well. He’s in a good place.”
WEEKEND PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Friday (7 p.m.): Florida sophomore RHP Logan Shore (1-0, 0.00) vs. Stony Brook junior left-hander Tyler Honahan (1-0, 2.53).
Saturday (4 p.m.): Florida sophomore LHP A.J. Puk (1-1, 5.14) vs. Stony Brook sophomore left-hander Daniel Zamora (1-0, 1.64).
Sunday (12 p.m.): Florida sophomore RHP Dane Dunning (2-0, 1.93) vs. Stony Brook junior right-hander Tim Knesnik (0-1, 4.00).