Jac Caglianone celebrates after hitting a home run against Oklahoma at the NCAA Gainesville Regional last season. The then-freshman went on to earn All-Tournament Team honors. (Courtesy of UAA/Chris Kim)

Catching Up with Cags: Florida Baseball’s Jac Caglianone

Jac Caglianone has missed the mound.

The sophomore was recruited by the University of Florida as the No. 4 ranked left-handed pitcher in the nation but tore his UCL in the state all-star game two weeks before summer training in 2021. Now, after 16 months of recovery, he’s showing promise at the plate and on the mound.

After pitching for the first time in fall competitive play, he’s living up to his true, two-way potential. Here’s a look at how far he’s come:

Flashback to Freshman Season

Despite being on the road to recovery, Caglianone was one of the Gators’ most dangerous hitters during the second half of the season. While he wasn’t ready to return to his 90 mph fastballs, he thrived as a designated hitter.

The first career start of any freshman is a feat of its own. But Caglianone wanted more.

In his last game of the series against then No.1 ranked Tennessee on April 24, Caglianone recorded his first career start, crushing a home run in just his second collegiate at-bat. This statement showing set the tempo for the type of asset he became for the Gators’ offense.

Caglianone’s momentum continued with standout games in the SEC Tournament against Arkansas and Alabama. His power at the plate earned him a spot alongside teammate Wyatt Langford on the 2022 SEC All-Tournament team.

Caglianone went on to finish his freshman season with seven home runs and 27 straight starts as the designated hitter. Like the rest of the team, he was disappointed in the Gators’ early exit from the NCAA tournament. Now looking ahead, he is confident the team can succeed in SEC play.

A Fall Favorite

Every time No. 14 saunters out of the dugout, chants like, “Let’s go, Cags!”, emerge. In Florida’s fall exhibition games, it wasn’t only for when he stepped up to the plate. For the first time in his college career, he pitched competitively, as well.

Caglianone stepped up on both sides in the Gators’ showdown against SEC rival Georgia in Jacksonville. The 8-4 win over the Bulldogs was his favorite memory of fall ball.

In his first-ever fall exhibition game, he went 3-for-5 with three singles and one RBI. On the mound, he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Florida then swept Stetson at home in a combined 16-inning doubleheader. Caglianone’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth solidified the Gators’ 7-6 win in the first game. While he only saw one out on the mound before weather interrupted play, his consistency at bat is promising.

Finally, he played both ways at Florida’s Orange & Blue intrasquad scrimmage to close out the fall season.

After finally getting a taste of competitive play, Caglianone is hungry for regular-season competition.

Countdown to Spring

Fall ball was just a tease for what is to come in the spring. Gator nation will finally witness Caglianone’s potential beyond at-bat, whether he’s starting or relieving on the mound.

The Gators will be back in uniform on Feb. 17 for their home opener against Charleston Southern. Until then, Caglianone is focused on getting stronger and aiming for a stellar sophomore showing.

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