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College | Story | 4/18/2019

Scout Take: Florida

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Brady McConnell (Allison Curry)

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Florida Gators

What Happened: Florida earned a much-needed series win against South Carolina as the Gators took two of three from the Gamecocks. The combination of some consistency with their top arms in the bullpen along with timely hitting from the offense allowed the Gators to take the Thursday and Saturday games en route to their first SEC series win. They'll be looking to take the momentum of this series into this weekend when they face off against the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge in what promises to be a compelling series. 

Carrying Tool: The story for the Gators this season has been that a lot of underclassmen have been thrust into important roles and the freshmen and sophomores have been guiding this team so far. The combination of Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich, when healthy, gives the Gators two sophomore arms who can compete with anyone in the country. Brady McConnell has been the most consistent hitter, along with freshman Kendrick Calilao, while guys like David Luethje, Christian Scott, Cory Acton, Jud Fabian, Jacob Young and Jordan Butler have all contributed – Butler hit a walk-off three run home run on Saturday to give the Gators the series over South Carolina.  

Concerns: Depth. Outside of some of the premier names on the roster, this iteration of the Gators isn't extremely deep and will need their starters to contribute most of the work. With the exception of Mace, Leftwich and Tyler Dyson have been riddled by injuries and ineffectiveness, respectively, while the bullpen has been shaky at times. Household names like Austin Langworthy and Wil Dalton both started off poorly, though Langworthy seems to have found his stride, as Dalton, Dyson and Brady Smith will need to pick up the pace if the Gators want to return to Omaha. 

Best Player on the Field: Tommy Mace. The numbers haven't quite caught up to the stuff thus far for Mace, but make no mistake that he is a true Friday night ace in the SEC and will be monitored closely by scouts for next year's draft. The 6-foot-6 righthander has an easy delivery with a fastball that works into the mid-90s, mostly sitting in the low-90s. The slider has made tremendous progress as the pitch will flash plus-plus and also features a firm, above average changeup in the upper-80s. 

Fearless Forecast: Omaha for the fifth straight season. Coach Kevin O'Sullivan hasn't missed a trip to Omaha since 2014 and this Gators team has some of the components of CWS teams in the past. Mace is a true Friday night ace while Leftwich has shown flashes of that caliber of stuff over the past two years as well. McConnell and senior Nelson Maldonado have provided consistency in the lineup and the top guys will have kept this team afloat long enough so that the others can shake off their early season woes and return to form. 

Players covered: Brady McConnell, Austin Langworthy, Hunter Ruth, Kendrick Calilao, Cory Acton, Jud Fabian, Jacob Young, Ben Specht, Christian Scott, Nelson Maldonado, Tommy Mace.




Brady McConnell
2019 has been a comeback year in a big way for McConnell after missing most of the 2018 season. The twitchy, athletic former PG All-American has been arguably the best hitter for the Gators this season as the swing looks improved and the body language and overall confidence looks very impressive as he has taken that proverbial step forward as a draft-eligible sophomore. 



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