Cold Weather? Must Mean UF Baseball

Temperatures in Gainesville are predicted to reach the low 20s late Sunday night. Weather like that in late January and early February can mean only one thing -- that college baseball is about to begin.

Practice begins for Coach Pat McMahon and the Florida baseball team Saturday morning with batting practice at 11:40am. The full squad workout will follow beginning at 1:15 p.m. Fans are encouraged to attend each of the sessions.

The season opener against Charleston Southern is scheduled for February 11 at 6:30 p.m.

The early season schedule should have people in the seats. The Gators take on second ranked (Collegiate Baseball) Miami for a three-game series in Gainesville, February 18-20. The Atlantic Coast Conference favorites will begin their first year of conference play. This will be an interesting year in Coral Gables. The Hurricanes played 58 of 61 games in the state of Florida in 2004. The only time they left the state was for a three-game series against Georgia Tech in Atlanta and the trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

Possibly taking a cue from Miami Coach Jim Morris, McMahon has afforded the Gators plenty of time to work out in front of the home crowd. Florida has 21 home contests before they depart Alfred P. McKeithan Stadium for the first time.

The Gators will finally leave campus for a trip to Oxford to take on 17th ranked Ole Miss the weekend of March 18-20. It will mark the start of the conference schedule. The Rebels feature Co-SEC Player of the Year Stephen head and several returnees.

One week after their return from Oxford, the Gators will take on Southeastern Conference favorite South Carolina (March 25-27) for a three-game series. The eighth-ranked Gamecocks have three seniors in their starting pitching rotation.

The Gators have several new faces that will be fighting for playing time. That is particularly true in the pitching rotation where eight young guns (Alan Horne, Tate Casey, Bryan Augenstein, Michael Branham, Josh Edmondson, Matt Hightower, David Hurst, and Tommy Wynn) hope to make an impression on Florida pitching Coach Ross Jones.

Returning starters Connor Falkenbach (P), Darren O'Day (P), Adam Davis (2B), and Matt LaPorta (C) were named All-Southeastern Conference second team selections. Davis was selected to several Freshman All-American squads last year.

Senior Jeff Corsaletti (OF) was named third team all-conference.

Last year Florida finished 43-22. Their season ended sadly enough in Mark Light Stadium in the NCAA Tournament. This year, the Gators are hoping to extend their season to Omaha for the College World Series.

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