Season Recap: Gators Make Deep Run in 2015 CWS

The 2015 Florida Gator baseball season was very successful as they posted a 52-18 record (19-11 in SEC play), won the SEC Tournament, and reached the semifinals of the College World Series in Omaha.

This season served as a good stepping stone for Florida’s return to relevance as a national baseball powerhouse after two disappointing seasons in 2013 and 2014.

In addition to claiming their seventh SEC Tournament title and returning to Omaha for the ninth time in program in history, the 2015 Gator baseball team can boast many more accomplishments. Some which include:

  • Winning 11 of 14 three-game weekend series (five of them coming via sweep)
  • Posting a record of 33-6 at McKethan Stadium
  • Starting a 10 straight game winning streak in the SEC Tournament and carrying it into the College World Series
  • Recording the second highest amount of wins (52) in school history and in the Kevin O’Sullivan era
  • Defeating five teams ranked in the NCBWA Top 25 Rankings
  • Having nine players selected in the 2015 MLB Draft
  • Routing rival Florida State in the Gainesville Super Regional to advance to the College World Series
  • Setting numerous records at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha which include:
    • Scoring 11 runs in an inning (vs rival Miami)
    • Scoring 15 runs in a game (also vs rival Miami)
    • Hitting four home runs in a game (also Miami)
    • Hitting the three longest home runs at the park (the longest belongs to Peter Alonso)
    • First team to score 10 runs ore more in three games
    • Most runs scored at the CWS with 39 total

All of these records and feats did not come by accident. It took the hard, collective work of 33 guys for a season like this to take shape. Now, let’s take a look at some of the award winners and the nine MLB draftees for the Florida Gators.

Individual Awards & Honors

  • Second Team All-SEC
    • C – Mike Rivera (Freshman)
    • 3B – Josh Tobias (Senior)
    • DH/UT – JJ Schwarz (Freshman)
  • Freshman All-SEC Team
  • SEC All-Defensive Team

MLB Draft Selections

  • Richie Martin (Junior): 1st Round (20th overall) to the Oakland Athletics, shortstop
  • Harrison Bader (Junior): 3rd Round (100th overall) to the St. Louis Cardinals, outfielder
  • Eric Hanhold (Junior): 6th Round (181st overall) to the Milwaukee Brewers, pitcher
  • Danny Young (Junior): 8th Round (242nd overall) to the Toronto Blue Jays, pitcher
  • Taylor Lewis (Junior): 9th Round (270th overall) to the Atlanta Braves, pitcher
  • Josh Tobias (Senior): 10th Round (294th overall) to the Philadelphia Phillies, third base
  • Bobby Poyner (Senior): 14th Round (411th overall) to the Boston Red Sox, pitcher
  • Michael Vinson (Junior): 24th Round (730th overall) to the Detroit Tigers, pitcher
  • Aaron Rhodes (Junior): 28th Round (855th overall) to the Los Angeles Angels, pitcher

I do expect nearly all of them to leave for the pros (Vinson and Rhodes could contemplate returning as seniors possibly).

Before I give my final analysis and thoughts on the season, let’s take a brief glance at the stat leaders for the season!

Offense

Hits: Buddy Reed (86) (Sophomore)

Jun 19, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; Florida Gators infielder Richie Martin (12) makes a play in the field in the eighth inning against the Virginia Cavaliers in the 2015 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Florida defeated Virginia 10-5. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

RBI’s: JJ Schwarz (73) (Freshman)

Home Runs: JJ Schwarz (18) (Freshman)

Batting Average: Josh Tobias (.355) (Senior)

Slugging %: JJ Schwarz (.629) (Freshman)

On Base %: Josh Tobias (.435) (Senior)

Stolen Bases: Richie Martin (20) (Junior)

Runs Scored: Richie Martin (63) (Junior)

Strikeouts: Buddy Reed (56) (Sophomore)

Walks: Richie Martin (35) (Junior)

Defense

Assists: Richie Martin (190) (Junior)

Putouts: Peter Alonso (329) (Sophomore)

Errors: Richie Martin (9) (Junior)

Fielding %: Harrison Bader (.1000) (Junior)

Pitching

Wins: Logan Shore (11) (Sophomore)

Losses: Logan Shore (6) (Sophomore)

Strikeouts: A.J. Puk (104) (Sophomore)

ERA: Starting Pitcher and Relieving Pitcher – Logan Shore (2.72) (Sophomore) Taylor Lewis (1.33) (Junior)

Shutouts: Logan Shore (3) (Sophomore)

Saves: Taylor Lewis (7) (Junior)

Appearances: Taylor Lewis (31) (Junior)

The Florida Gator baseball program is in a very good position right now.

Although they lose highly touted players like Richie Martin, Harrison Bader, Josh Tobias, and others in the draft, many key contributors are coming back. Both ace Logan Shore and 6’7 lefty A.J. Puk are coming back as juniors.

Mike Rivera, the man working with them behind the plate all year, will be back.

Jun 17, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; Florida Gators outfielder Buddy Reed (23) celebrates with catcher JJ Schwarz (22) after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Miami Hurricanes in the 2015 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Martin and Tobias will be gone, the entire right side of the infield in Peter Alonso and Dalton Guthrie is returning. Speedy center fielder Buddy Reed is coming back with most likely Ryan Larson in right field and Jeremy Vasquez in left.

And of course, the almighty DH/catcher JJ Schwarz is coming back.

As a sophomore, Schwarz will again be one of the Gators’ main sources of power. Maybe the most valuable returner of all, head coach Kevin O’Sullivan will be back once more for his ninth season. Knowing the recruiter that Sully is, I am very excited to see who he brings in for the 2016 squad.

For the fans, we have some time to sit back and really reflect on how great this 2015 season was. For the players however, it is time to get back to work.

Nine Gators prepare for their next step up to the minor leagues, while the rest of the team disperses to summer leagues around the state and country to hone their skills and prepare for a title run in 2016.

*All stats accredited to Gatorzone.com, secsports.com, ncaa.com, mlb.com, & abca.org