#7 Gator Baseball Posts sub-.500 Season
Since the 2003 season, Pat McMahon's Florida Gators showed improvement in each of three seasons. After a 37-21-1 mark in '03, the Gators improved to 43-22 overall in 2004 before improving to 48-23 in the 2005 season that took the Gators to their first ever College World Series Finals.
But since then, it's been anything but good times for a Gator baseball team that in the last two seasons has struggled offensively and struggled on the mound. They sunk to a 28-28 overall record in 2006, posting a 10-20 mark in the Southeastern Conference, which was the school's lowest winning percentage in the SEC since 1971.
Although the Gators improved their conference mark by five games in 2007, two losses at the SEC Tournament sent Florida home with its first sub-.500 season since posting an identical 29-30 record in 1990.
Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley had seen enough after his football and basketball programs captured national titles and made the decision to replace McMahon in early-June. He turned to Clemson assistant and Florida-native Kevin O'Sullivan to try and revive the Gator baseball program just one week later.
After hitting .293 as a team in 2005, Florida sunk to a lowly .265 team average in 2006. The pitching staff also saw its earned run average rise from 3.98 to 4.21 between the '05 and '06 seasons.
The 2007 squad increased its batting average close to the 2005 mark, hitting .290, but the pitching staff allowed one earned run more per game. The team ERA soared to 5.27 after being below 4.00 just two seasons earlier.
Things changed mightily for the Gators in just two years. In addition to their pitching and hitting woes, run production also dropped by nearly 100 runs, and runs allowed jumped to 380 in 2007.
Only one other team (women's basketball) finished the year sub-.500 in 2006-07. Considering the Gator baseball program has only finished under .500 six times since 1950, and the program played for a national championship just two seasons ago, the disappointing end to the 2007 season makes for one of the top stories of the year.