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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- As Florida stormed through the NCAA postseason last year and reached the finals of the College World Series, it had in its possession one of the nation’s elite pitching staffs with an excellent bullpen.
The situation is a little different this season. The Gators still have plenty of talent, particularly with left-handed pitcher Steve Rodriguez leading the charge. But gone from last year’s club are 93 total appearances with the departures of Anthony DeSclafani, Nick Maronde and Tommy Toledo.
That’s precisely why the success of hard-throwing right-hander and two-way stud Austin Maddox is so important.
Maddox is certainly no stranger to the mound. Though he didn’t make a mound appearance as a freshman two seasons ago, his role increased last season with 21 appearances, compiling an 0.67 ERA in 27 innings, and finishing the campaign with 21 strikeouts, three walks and five saves.
Maddox also was a regular in the field, starting all 62 games and finishing the year hitting .280 with six home runs and 35 RBIs.
The talented veteran certainly will continue to hit this season, but his role definitely has changed, perhaps for the better if you’re looking at what’s best for his future.
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