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Friday, April 12, 2024

Gators win first road series in rubber match versus Miami

Florida has won its last three series against the Canes

Gators baseball left-handed pitcher Jac Caglianone pitches the ball in the team's 12-5 win over Columbia University on Sunday, February 25, 2024.
Gators baseball left-handed pitcher Jac Caglianone pitches the ball in the team's 12-5 win over Columbia University on Sunday, February 25, 2024.

Very few players garner as much attention as Gators two-way player Jac Caglianone. 

His ability to play on both sides of the field, and do it at an All-American level, makes him one of the most widely discussed talents in college baseball.

On Sunday, he put both his abilities to display.

Caglianone went 3-for-5 at the plate and blasted a 408-foot home run. On the mound, he pitched six scoreless innings and struck out 11 batters.

The No. 4 Florida Gators (8-3) defeated the Miami Hurricanes (6-5) 8-4 Sunday afternoon at Mark Light Field. Florida hit five home runs en route to victory.

Caglianone had a short leash in his last start against the Columbia Lions. He lasted just three innings and surrendered three runs on two walks and two hits. However, he did show an excellent level of command and struck out seven of his 13 batters faced.

He was exceptional on the mound against the Canes on Sunday.

Caglianone allowed just three total hits and struck out 11 batters. Miami got a runner in scoring position just twice throughout his outing. Both times, the Tampa, Florida, native remained calm and worked his way out of trouble.

Caglianone settled in while cushioned behind a lead Florida earned in the first few innings.

Gators shortstop Colby Shelton cracked onto the scoreboard in the first inning with a two-run home run. Florida added two more with back-to-back blasts from second baseman Cade Kurland and outfielder Tyler Shelnut in the fourth. 

However, Shelnut carried his bat down the first-base line and expressively flipped it, leading to an ejection when he finished his trip around the diamond. He was replaced by freshman Hayden Yost.

Miami remained scoreless until it finally got to Florida reliever Ryan Slater in the eighth inning.

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Slater was spotless to that point. He pitched nearly two clean innings but couldn’t work his way out of a debacle in the eighth.

Slater loaded the bases with a walk, hit-by-pitch and a single. With two outs, head coach Kevin O’Sullivan elected to go to All-American closer Brandon Neely with four outs left in the contest. 

On Neely’s first pitch, Miami pinch hitter Dorian Gonzalez blasted a grand slam to left field to shave its deficit to two. All of the sudden, the Canes had stormed back to make it a competitive ballgame.

However, that was quickly put to rest with Shelton’s second two-run home run of the game in the top of the ninth inning.

Neely worked a clean, 1-2-3 ninth inning and Florida won the rubber match for its first road-series victory of the season.

The Gators will resume play against the Florida Atlantic Owls at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Condron Family Ballpark. The game will be broadcast 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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