Gator baseball team embraces high expectations for 2023

The Gators get underway Friday, Feb. 17 at home versus Charleston Southern
Sproat, Waldrep tough at the top of the rotation
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 6:45 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -When you walk outside these days, the sun is bright, and the days are starting to get a little longer. Spring is just about here--and soon, softball and baseball will be added to the North Central Florida sports scene.

The Gator baseball team gets its season underway a week from Friday. And on Monday, the team spoke to the media for the first time this pre-season.

Florida is ranked No. 7 by D1 baseball. One reason to be excited is thew team’s starting pitching. Brandon Sproat returns after developing into an ace late last season, and Southern Miss transfer Hurston Waldrep is getting preseason All-American buzz.

The pair give the Gators a solid one-two punch to start every weekend series. Returning All-SEC catcher BT Riopelle likes the view.

“It’s nice to have two guys who are solidified starters at the beginning of the year when you don’t have question marks,” said Riopelle. “I’m excited to go out there and see them compete. They’re both competitors, they’re both leaders, they do the right thing.”

Florida is coming off a strong finish to last season, when the Gators won nine of their final 12 SEC regular season games and then made a run to the conference tournament title game. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, entering his 16th season, understands the lofty goals set forth by the program.

“Of course we want to get to Omaha again,” said O’Sullivan. “Yes, we haven’t been there since 2018, and no one wants to get back there more than those players and our staff. We are a bit older, but at the same time, we have to keep the expectations and the noise out.”

The Gators get their 2022 season underway Friday, Feb. 17 at home versus Charleston Southern. 20 of Florida’s first 22 games are at home.

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