Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Monday, May 27, 2024

Finnvold’s heroics lift Gators past Sooners

Florida has a shot at the regional championship Monday

<p>Freshman Carsten Finnvold celebrates on the mound during his performance against Oklahoma June 5, 2022. Finnvold sat down all 27 batters in the win.</p>

Freshman Carsten Finnvold celebrates on the mound during his performance against Oklahoma June 5, 2022. Finnvold sat down all 27 batters in the win.

Everyone loves the unlikely hero. In desperate situations, sometimes the only option is the one you never considered. 

The Gators baseball team found themselves in that position Sunday. UF needed a victory against Oklahoma to survive and advance to a potential winner-take-all regional championship Monday. 

The only problem was Florida had exhausted its bullpen hours earlier in an effort to topple Central Michigan. Now, the Gators needed an unlikely hero.

Enter: Carsten Finnvold. 

Florida defeated the Sooners 7-2 Sunday to force a final regional final rubber match Monday. 

Sophomore Timmy Manning got the start on the mound. The lefty plunked the first batter and walked the next two while throwing just one strike, urging head coach Kevin O’Sullivan to relieve him of his duties before he could close a single frame.

Fellow first-year lefty Finnvold replaced Manning on the rubber. Finnvold previously appeared in only five games all season for the Gators, most recently letting up four hits and four runs against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament

Despite inexperience and low-velocity pitches, Finnvold managed to escape the early jam and followed it up by sitting 16 batters in order. His fastest pitch during the stretch clocked in at 84 mph. 

Florida got on the scoreboard first in the fourth inning. Junior center fielder Jud Fabian blasted his 23rd home run of the season into the left berm for an early 1-0 lead.

The Gators continued to produce in the next inning, taking a 2-0 lead off an RBI single from freshman designated hitter Jac Caglianone.

In the bottom of the sixth, Finnvold gave up his first hit of the ballgame on a line drive to left field. Things began to unravel from that point. The Sooners followed their first hit with two RBI singles to tie the game, though Finnvold managed to escape the inning without relinquishing another run. 

The game sat even at 2-2 after six innings. Florida’s top of the order approached the plate, desperate to pull ahead and stay alive. It didn’t take long, as a double from sophomore second baseman Sterlin Thompson and an RBI single from junior first baseman BT Riopelle brought the Gators back ahead by one.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

O’Sullivan gave Finnvold another shot in the bottom of the seventh, and he did not disappoint. Finnvold retired the side in order and threw two punchouts to bring the inning to a close. 

In the top of the eighth Fabian sent another bomb over the outfield wall, giving the Gators a two-run cushion. It marked his 24th homer on the season, putting him third in UF history for single-season home runs behind teammate Wyatt Langford.

Then, things got weird. A passed ball, a sac fly and an error brought in three straight runs for Florida and grew its lead to 7-2 after eight innings.

Finnvold went back to work. He sat three more batters in a row to bring upon the ninth inning. The Gators couldn’t add any more cushion in their last frame, and Finnvold took the mound 108 pitches deep with a shot to close out his career performance. 

Double play. Ballgame. 

“I haven’t really had time to digest it all,” O’Sullivan said. “Any adjective I use to describe his outing doesn’t do it justice. Those stories do happen to people that work hard.” 

If the Gators pull out a win Monday, they will advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. 

First pitch at Condron Family Ballpark is set for 1 p.m.

Contact Jackson Castellano at jcastellano@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @jaxacastellano.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Jackson Castellano

Jackson Castellano is a third-year sports media journalism student and the Digital Managing Editor at The Alligator for Spring 2024. In the past, he's served as the Sports Editor, Assistant Sports Editor and a Sports Reporter covering Football, Men's basketball and Baseball.


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.