It was a rough weekend for the Florida Gators, as they were swept by the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Gators have had two tough SEC series against MSU and Vandy, respectfully, and finished with a 1-5 conference record. Florida did beat the Jacksonville Dolphins 13-8 in their midweek game. Florida will look to rebound from their tough weekend as they’ll be back home against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Here are three takeaways from the Florida-Vanderbilt series.
The Bullpen has become a glaring issue
Going into the season, the Gators had some question marks with their bullpen and so far, those questions have yet to be addressed. Florida’s bullpen has been up and down this whole season but mostly down against the better competition. This weekend showed how the bullpen will be challenged when facing the top SEC ball clubs. Pitchers like Jordan Butler, Justin Alintoff, Kirby McMullen and Hunter Ruth all struggled with control and gave up some big innings. The Gators starters will be pushed to go longer, but at some point, the bullpen will need to step up and do their part.
Florida’s offense starting to struggle
Against non-conference opponents, Florida’s offense has done their part, hitting and scoring runs. However, against SEC teams, Florida’s bats have gone cold and struggled to keep up with Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. The Gators hit below .200 and only had one home run during the Vanderbilt series. Some of Florida’s young batters have hit well like Jacob Young and Cory Acton but their veterans haven’t produced. Austin Langworthy needs to fix whatever issues he’s having at the dish. The Gators lineup doesn’t function properly without their starting left fielder for the past three seasons.
Tommy Mace was terrific
If there was one highlight of the weekend, it would be Florida’s ace pitcher Tommy Mace. The sophomore right-handed pitcher Tommy Mace was dominate Thursday night against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Mace has pitched like an ace and has been the Gators most consistent pitcher this season. It looks like Tommy Mace will be the pitcher the Florida Gators will lean on in the 2019 baseball season.