The Florida Gators’ 2022 baseball season ended Monday with a 5-4 loss in the regional finals of the NCAA Championship Tournament against Oklahoma. The year was filled with ups and downs, but being six outs away from a Super Regional berth isn’t too shabby for a team with 16 new players on the roster.
Pitching was a bit of a disappointment early on, but a few freshmen started to stand out from the bunch. That depth allowed the Gators to make a deeper run than most expected in the playoffs and finish the year 42-24.
Conference play was a bit of a struggle. UF finished the regular season .500 against the SEC, including series losses to Georgia (sweep), LSU, Tennessee (sweep) and Vanderbilt. A 9-3 finish against the weaker members of the conference (Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri and South Carolina) allowed Florida to finish with a respectable record, but things didn’t really turn around until Texas A&M beat them via the mercy rule.
After that 10-0 loss, Florida played like the team it needed to be all year. It even got legendary performances from the likes of Carsten Finnvold, a freshman who hadn’t seen game action since April when he got the start against Tennessee in theSEC Tournament.
Then there’s the offense. At times, the veteran group didn’t back up the young pitching staff as it was expected to. Jud Fabian was a disappointment down the stretch, hitting just .185 against the conference and going 1-for-30. To his credit, Fabian struck out 10 times less than he did a year ago in about 40 more plate appearances. Walks were also up considerably, so his eye definitely improved despite the low average.
On the other side of things, Wyatt Langford made a complete transformation over the offseason and became one of the best leadoff guys in baseball. He led the team in most major offensive categories and tied Matt LaPorta’s 2005 school record of 26 homers in a season.
There’s a lot to celebrate about with this team, and a lot to address moving forward….