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Sunday, May 19, 2024

No. 6 Gators wrap up series against Saints with one-sided slugfest

Florida completed its fourth series sweep of season

Florida sophomore Jac Caglianone pitches the ball in the Gators's 14-4 mercy-rule win against the No. 22 Miami Hurricanes at Condron Ballpark Sunday, March 5, 2023.
Florida sophomore Jac Caglianone pitches the ball in the Gators's 14-4 mercy-rule win against the No. 22 Miami Hurricanes at Condron Ballpark Sunday, March 5, 2023.

Sophomore two-way-player Jac Caglianone rounded the bases after roping a deep homerun down the right field line. The blast marked Caglianone’s second of the afternoon. 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s home run leader had taken the lead with twelve home runs and just made it thirteen. UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was very pleased with Caglianone’s Sunday performance, he said. 

“Typical Jac,” O’Sullivan said. “He seems to rise to the occasion.”

Caglianone helped on both sides of the field and pushed the Gators to a mercy-rule victory to seal Florida’s winning week. 

The No. 6 Florida Gators (15-3) crushed the Siena Saints (2-13) 12-2 Sunday afternoon to finalize the series sweep and preserve its perfect all-time record versus the Saints. UF had eleven hits and three home runs and is now 18-0 against the Saints. 

Caglianone started on the bump for the Gators and pitched three innings. O’Sullivan wanted to keep Caglianone around 45 pitches to prepare for the upcoming week; in particular, the Thursday matchup versus No. 18 Alabama. 

He opened his first inning with two strikeouts and two walks. The Saints left two men in scoring position. Caglianone gave up one walk and one hit in the second and third innings. The sophomore finished his day with three innings pitched and three strikeouts; He allowed two walks and a hit. 

The Gators’ bats got off to a hot start in the first two innings. 

Redshirt freshman center fielder Michael Robertson approached the plate and got on base with a leadoff walk. The Venice, Florida, native stole second base and freshman second baseman Cade Kurland singled to bring Robertson home. 

Senior catcher BT Riopelle and junior infielder Tyler Shelnut hit fielder's choice runs batted in to give the Gators a 3-0 lead at the end of the first. 

The Saints replaced junior starting pitcher Sebastian Bentz after one inning with senior righty relief pitcher Kyle Lev, but the Gators offensive momentum continued.

Sophomore left fielder Deric Fabian started the second inning with a single. Fabian stole second and executed a double steal along with junior third baseman Colby Halter to reach third base. 

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The sophomore completed his trip around the bases on a routine ground ball throwing error by Saints freshman third baseman Nick Bergamotto. 

Caglianone belted a ball to deep left-center field with two men on base and only one out. His homer brought in three runs to extend the Gators’ lead to seven. 

Caglianone hit another blast — this time in deep right field — two innings later. The next batter, junior shortstop Josh Rivera, crushed a ball in left field for back-to-back jacks. 

Blake Purnell replaced Caglianone after his short stint. Purnell lasted two innings for Florida and gave up two base runners before he was pulled by O’Sullivan.

Junior right-handed pitcher Clete Hartzog entered the game to clean up Purnell’s mess. However, Hartzog’s first batter, Barbero, drove in the runners to slim Florida’s lead to seven. 

The Gators landed one final punch on the Saints and capitalized off another throwing error from the infield. 

Barbero attempted to throw to first with two outs, but the ball soared over the first baseman’s head. Kurland walked home and Caglianone and Rivera advanced an extra base. The error set up two RBIs by Florida senior catcher BT Riopelle. 

The Gators’ offense forced the Saints to make five pitching changes Sunday. The team flipped the switch offensively from its lackluster 3-2 win Friday. 

“We just took things pitch by pitch, play by play,” Riopelle said. 

The Gators will stay at Condron Ballpark for their next matchup. UF will face the North Florida Ospreys at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+.

Contact Luke Adragna at ladragna@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @lukeadrag.

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Luke Adragna

Luke Adragna is a third-year journalism student and the Florida Gators football reporter at The Alligator. He is a cat ethusiast and completes the NYT Daily Mini in less than a minute each day.


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