Ridaught: Milestone wins for area coaches

This past Saturday night the University of Florida baseball team defeated Alabama, 13-6, in Tuscaloosa.

It was the 600th win at UF for head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

His .680 winning percentage ranks third among all active Division I head coaches.

“At the end of the day, the players are the ones that go out and play,” O’Sullivan said. “They’re the ones that have to put in all the hard work in the weight room and that type of thing. But certainly, it’s a nice milestone. I’m just glad, honestly, not to sound too modest, but I’m just really glad for the players, to go on the road for our first SEC series and win the series.”

The program has reached great heights since O’Sullivan took over the program during the 2008 season.

The Gators have the most College World Series appearances (7) under O’Sullivan since 2008. He passed Dave Fuller for the most wins in program history on March 9, 2021, with a 5-1 win vs. Georgia State.

In addition to seven CWS appearances, Sullivan won a national title (2017) and has won the SEC championship five times, including two SEC tournament championships.

This year’s team is 15-5 overall and 2-1 in the SEC following Sunday’s 8-7 loss at Alabama. With a top-10 national ranking, expect O’Sullivan’s team to be in the mix for another postseason run.

Meanwhile, in west Gainesville, a former baseball player to don the orange and blue has a shot at two milestones this week.

Johnny Wiggs, who was a left-handed pitcher at UF in the late ‘80s, has 499 wins at Santa Fe College.

He can win his 500th game with the Saints this afternoon at home against Daytona State College. The first pitch is at 3 p.m.

This past Saturday, Wiggs moved within one game of the milestone as SF routed St. Johns River State College, 10-0, in six innings.

In addition to 499 wins at Santa Fe, Wiggs has 698 for his career overall, which includes a stint at Polk State College.

This past June, he was inducted into the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame.

In 15-plus seasons at Santa Fe College, the former University of Florida pitcher has a record of 499-230 (.684), has won nine Mid-Florida Conference regular season titles, advanced to the FCSAA State/Region 8 Tournament 11 times and won two FCSAA State Championships.

His 2009 team was his best team, finishing runner-up at the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Last year’s team just missed a return trip to Colorado, falling in the championship game to Miami Dade College after Robb Adams pitched a no-hitter in the state semifinals to propel the Saints to the state title game.

Wiggs, who helped lead Florida to its first-ever College World Series appearance in 1988, could get win No. 700 this week against the same opponent.

The Saints will travel to Daytona State on Wednesday and then return home for the 3-game series against the Falcons on Friday.

This column is from Mike Ridaught’s free sports email newsletter newsletter that comes out each Monday and Friday. You can subscribe to by clicking here.

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