As many remember, Rob and the Aggies took part in a No. 1/No. 2 series last year against LSU in Baton Rouge. The Tigers took the first two games of the series, but the Ags were able to fight off the sweep on Sunday. We could get into the Friday contest and the calls that may or may definitely been suspect, but that wouldn't be very #fun.
Anyhow, this year we get to enjoy yet another Aggies' road series that pits the No. 1 team in the country against the No. 2 team. This time around, the Ags are the top team, but in a series where both teams that are so evenly matched (at least on paper), the rankings don't really matter. Regardless of your fandom, this is set up to be one whale of a series.
News came out yesterday that A&M Friday night starter Jace Vines was sidelined by an undisclosed illness, and he wouldn't make the trip to Gainesville:
.@Aggie_Baseball RHP Jace Vines, the team's Friday starter, did not travel to Gainesville because of an illness. #Aggies rotation TBA. #sec— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersD1) March 31, 2016
The thought of going into such a huge series without a team's top starter is, uh, not good. Luckily, later that night, some better news came out regarding the status of Vines:
Some BIG news: @Aggie_Baseball Friday starter, RHP Jace Vines, has been cleared from his illness. Will travel to Gainesville tomorrow #Gigem— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersD1) April 1, 2016
So as we can see, the Ags' rotation is still not fully set, so here's a little bit about Florida's outstanding rotation:
Friday, 6:00 pm
Florida's starter: Logan Shore (5-0, 2.89)
Shore has gotten wins in his last 10 outings dating back to last season, and his 2.89 ERA suggests that he's a very quality Friday night guy. But that doesn't tell his whole story. Shore was the 2014 National Freshman Pitcher of the Year according to Perfect Game, and spent all of 2015 as their Friday night starter. In his last three outings for the Gators, Shore has given up 11 earned runs on 18 hits and three walks in 16.1 innings. He's also struck out 22 hitters in that span. Luckily for Shore, he's gotten plenty of run support in those three games, as the Gators' offense scored 32 runs.
Saturday, 6:30 pm
Florida's starter: Alex Fraedo (5-0, 2.70)
Fraedo, a sophomore, has started in Sunday games up to this point, but he'll be taking the ball on Saturday this weekend. He's been really good, too. In his last three starts, he's struck out 13, 9 and 8, while only giving up seven combined runs. The only problem start he's had was against light-hitting Missouri, who ranks 208th in the country in batting average, where the Tigers scored five earned runs on six hits off of Fraedo.
Sunday, 1:00 pm
Florida's starter: A.J. Puk (1-2, 3.49)
Puk, the Gators' usual Saturday starter, has been very up-and-down this season. After pitching for Team USA along side A&M closer Ryan Hendrix this past summer, Puk figured to be one of the strongest pitchers in the entire conference, but that hasn't exactly come to fruition just yet. Two weeks ago against Missouri, Puk threw seven very strong innings of shutout baseball, giving up only three hits and issuing one walk. Then in his most recent start, at Kentucky, he gave up six earned runs on four hits and two walks. Two of those hits left the yard. The Gators most likely chose to move him to Sunday in order to take some of the pressure off of him. A pitcher of his caliber should be able to bounce back from last weekend's outing, and that should make for an interesting challenge on Sunday for the Aggies.
How to Watch/Listen
TV: Friday night's game can be found on SEC Network+, and Saturday/Sunday can both be found on ESPNU
Radio: 1150 AM, 102.7 FM