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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Gators baseball gets revenge against Jacksonville

Florida run-ruled the Dolphins 12-1, Tuesday.

Florida baseball left fielder Tyler Shelnut swings the bat in the team's loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday, April 12, 2024.
Florida baseball left fielder Tyler Shelnut swings the bat in the team's loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday, April 12, 2024.

The tensions were high the last time the two teams faced.

The Jacksonville Dolphins defeated the Florida Gators 7-6 March 19. As the Dolphins formed their high-five line on the mound after the game, the entire team nearly got into a scuffle with Gators left fielder Tyler Shelnut. 

The two sides yelled back and forth. Shelnut was held back by his teammates. But the moment wasn’t forgotten.

“[We’re] definitely not going to let them run their mouths the way they did last time,” Gators two-way player Jac Caglianone said ahead of the rematch. “We lost, but at the same time, we’re 10 times better than them. So, that’s just how we’re gonna go about it.”

It wasn’t ever close on Tuesday. The Gators (19-17) run-ruled the Dolphins (16-19) 12-1 at Condron Family Ballpark. Florida strung together its second consecutive victory for the first time since April 2. 

“[The Dolphins] always play with a chip on their shoulder when they play us, and we have to respond the same way.” Shelnut said after the game. “ I think we did a much better job of that tonight, and I think that comes from the confidence building off the win Sunday.”

Shelnut had one of his best career games for the Gators, Tuesday. The left fielder recorded two home runs and five RBI.

He hit a two-run home in the first inning to help jumpstart the Gators’ offense. Shelnut hit his second, a three-run home run, in the fifth inning for the final score of the game.

“I’m not looking to be perfect,” he said. “I got a good pitch. I wasn’t trying to do too much.”

In addition to Shelnut’s pair of homers, Caglianone hit a 516-foot home run over the right-field scoreboard.

“That’s the furthest I think anybody here has probably ever seen,” Shelnut said of Caglianone’s home run. “I had never seen that before.”

The skyscraping home run was Caglianone’s 21st of the year. It was a reminder of how successful he’s been on both sides of the field but especially at the plate.

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Caglianone has more home runs than he does strikeouts this season. With 61 career home runs, he has the second-most in program history for Florida, trailing Matt LaPorta, who had 74.

“I think he’s having fun playing baseball, honestly,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “When you have really good players… that care about the success of the team, rather than themselves, then this is what you see.”

In total, Florida recorded 12 hits Tuesday night. Five Gators had multi-hit nights, and UF only struck out six total times during the contest. 

Additionally, the Gators’ pitchers had the most successful night of the season and surrendered just one run in the fifth inning.

Florida right-hander Jake Clemente started and pitched two scoreless innings. He was followed by freshman lefty Frank Menendez, who faced six batters and failed to give up a hit.

Gators utilityman Landon Russell, who normally plays left field, also made his first appearance on the mound and pitched a clean final inning for the victory.

Florida will travel north and play the No. 13 Vanderbilt Commodores for a three-game set beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hawkins Field. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Contact Luke Adragna at Follow him on X @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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