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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Caglianone’s record-tying home run not enough in loss to Vanderbilt

The first baseman tied the collegiate record with home run in ninth-striaght game

Florida first baseman Jac Caglianone watches his home run after hitting one against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday, April 12, 2024.
Florida first baseman Jac Caglianone watches his home run after hitting one against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday, April 12, 2024.

Since April 5, nothing has gone right for Gators baseball. In 10 games, they’ve won just two games and have allowed seven or more runs in six of those games. It’s been a disaster.

And in the eighth inning, RJ Austin roped an infield single, extending Vanderbilt’s lead to 5-2. But after the play, UF’s defense was lazy as no one covered second base. It prompted Austin to swipe second base, and freshman Luke McNeillie threw the ball into the outfield, allowing Austin to advance to third. 

Although Austin didn’t come into score, he never should’ve gotten to third. But the situation may have shown Florida’s season is quickly heading down the drain after suffering its third-straight SEC series loss. 

The Gators 19-19 (7-10 SEC) fell 5-2 to the No. 13 Commodores (29-10, 10-7 SEC), Friday night. 

Coming into the contest with the Commodores, Florida ranked last in the SEC in ERA and walks, and second-to-last in batting average against and home runs allowed. 

Yet, Friday was one of Florida’s better outings from its pitching staff.  

Pierce Coppola made his second start of the season, but the lefty got unlucky early. 

In the bottom of the first, Vanderbilt’s Davis Diaz was hit by a pitch. However, the Gators challenged the call and it looked clear it didn’t hit him. Regardless, the call stood and Diaz remained at first. 

Then, Jonathan Vastine attempted to steal third, and a strong throw from Luke Heyman would’ve gotten the second out of the inning. He did just that, but Tyler Shelnut failed to catch the throw.

It set up runners on third and second and one batter later, Vanderbilt’s Jayden Davis drove the two runs in on a double, putting them up 2-0. 

Fast forward to the top of the seventh and the Gators still couldn't catch a break. 

With UF down 3-2, Luke Heyman was on second base as the tying run with two outs. Landon Russell grounded out to end the inning, but the pitch clock had already run out before Vanderbilt pitcher Ryan Ginther started his motion. It should’ve been a ball, and given Russell another chance. 

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Instead, the Gators, who had the momentum at the time after two sixth-inning home runs from Brody Donay and Jac Caglianone, failed to have a base runner in the final two innings. 

Caglianone’s home run, which traveled 401 feet, tied the NCAA collegiate record for the most consecutive games with a home run. It was his ninth straight game with a long ball and his 23rd of the year. 

Though, the home run was just one of four hits UF tallied on the night. Its first didn’t come until the fifth inning. 

A two-run bottom of the eighth from the Commodores iced their win, allowing them to take the series against the struggling Gators.

UF and Vandy will play Game 3 of the series Saturday. First pitch is at 3 p.m. and the game can be streamed on SEC Network-Plus. 

Contact Bennett Solomon at Follow him on X @B_Soly11.

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