The Baseball Observer Nov-Dec 2015 vol 5 - Page 21

left-handers, junior righty Shaun Anderson acknowledged that this year’s additions give the pitching staff a needed boost if the club wants to return to Omaha for the CWS.

“Last year, we had a couple of younger guys like Alex Faedo who helped out as a freshman on our pitching staff,” Anderson said. “This year, we have a lot of guys who are going to come in, pitch right away and make an impact.”

Kowar often looks to the veterans for advice to make him an asset to the club, both on and off of the mound.

“Logan (Shore) is big on not carrying your mistakes onto the field,” Kowar said. “He said that if we have a bad outing or a bad bullpen, to turn the page and move on. It’s a long fall with a lot of baseball, we don’t get caught up on mistakes and always try to move forward.”

While the guys will continuously and consistently work to improve in practice and during scrimmages, the squad knows that advancing to the College World Series again doesn’t happen overnight.

“Getting to Omaha, it’s awesome, but we have to play our way there,” Larson said. “We have to take care of business with 56 regular-season games, the SEC Tournament, Regionals and Super Regionals. It’s a very long road.”

A Tallahassee native, Reese and the other freshmen are focused and ready to live up to being named the best class in the nation. The journey started when the newcomers stepped onto campus, and the club wants it to end with the final win at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.

“It is an implicit goal. Everybody knows what’s at stake here, and everybody knows what the overall goal is,” Reese said. “There are expectations that have been put onto this program on a national level, but I think that the expectations for ourselves are even higher.”

While the freshmen know that they are playing on a team with a target on its back, the message remains the same: attack the present instead of the future.

“This year, we are focusing on the little things and trying not to look six months out,” Kowar said. “Obviously, it’s the goal, and it’s exciting to think about, but it’s one step at a time. We have a long fall ahead of us and a lot of practice left.”

The Gators will continue open practices and scrimmages through late November, working to achieve the heavily discussed “ultimate goal” of winning a national title for the first time in school history.

“We aren’t there yet,” Anderson said. “But, when we get there, all of the hard work, sweat and practice put in, it’ll be worth it. It’ll be even more worth it if we win.”

A successful season isn’t always defined by wins and losses, but a national title certainly helps.