GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida released its 2017 baseball schedule Tuesday, and Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan said the upcoming slate brings the same challenge the program is accustomed to each year.
“We’ll have a lot of opportunities to get a lot of guys some work, especially on the pitching side of things the first month of the season and I think it will be a challenging schedule like it always is,” he said. “I just don’t see it being much different than it normally is.”
One of the early highlights is a three-game series with in-state rival Miami, which like the Gators reached the College World Series last June. The Hurricanes visit McKethan Stadium at Perry Field on Feb. 24-26.
Another familiar rival, Florida State, visits Florida on March 14, the teams then play a neutral site game in Jacksonville on March 28 and square off in Tallahassee on April 11. The Gators eliminated the Seminoles in the NCAA Super Regionals last year.
After posting the best regular-season record (44-11) in program history last year on the way to a 52-16 overall mark and the school’s fifth College World Series appearance in the last seven years, the Gators will open the 2017 campaign with a three-game series against William & Mary starting Feb. 17 at McKethan Stadium.
Other non-conference opponents include Sunshine State foes Jacksonville, Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Stetson, North Florida, Florida A&M and South Florida along with Columbia and Seton Hall from up north.
“I know some of the northern teams, I’ve already looked at some of that, they’ve got some good arms coming back,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s kind of similar to last year when we played a couple of teams from up north (that) run out guys (throwing) 92-94. I think a couple of the teams we play early on are going to have that type of pitching as well.”
As for SEC play, the Gators will open on the road March 17-19 at Auburn.
They host conference series with LSU (March 24-26), Tennessee (April 7-9), South Carolina (April 20-22), Ole Miss (May 5-7) and Kentucky (May 18-20).