The Florida Gator baseball team defeated Charleston Southern 8-0 on Sunday to complete a three game season opening sweep. Underclassman prevailed and outstanding pitching by the Gators helped lock in the trio of wins.
Welcome Back Jac Caglianone
The sophomore hadn’t seen the mound for an official start since back in high school.
Making his first career start on the mound as a Gator on Sunday, Caglianone showed why he’s one of the best two-way prospects in the nation. Last season, he had to stick to the bat due to Tommy John Surgery. He made his first start at the plate in late April against Tennessee and hit a home run in his second game.
Now, Caglianone is back to seeing both sides of the field. In the first two games at the plate, he went 2 for 8 and on Sunday, he came out with nothing but fire and flames on the mound, striking out the first batter he saw on four pitches and ending the first half inning with a 97 mph heater to strikeout Kieran Davis.
Jac Caglianone throwing Diesel. ⛽️ pic.twitter.com/AbbWIknbVZ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 19, 2023
Gators Strike First
Florida wasted no time with the bats and scored three runs by the end of the second inning.
Defense was a struggle for Charleston Southern all weekend and another error cost them runs in this one. In the bottom of the first, BT Riopelle reached on a dropped ball by the right fielder who then lobbed the ball to the infield which allowed an alert Riopelle to reach second base. Josh Rivera walked and Ty Evans laced a ball down the left field line for a two RBI double. Gators up 2-0.
If this weekend proved one thing for the Gators, it’s that pitchers aren’t going to get away with mistakes through this lineup. To back that up, Cade Kurland is supposed to be a senior in high school. He found himself in Gainesville after he graduated high school a year early.
Kurland doubled in the bottom of the second inning and freshman Luke Heyman followed with an RBI triple for his first career hit as a Gator. 3-0 Gators.
Can’t forget about this web gem from Colby Halter at third base either.
What’s a better debut on the mound than tossing six scoreless frames?
Caglianone was dealing for the Gators and cruised through 6.2 innings. He gave up only two hits, striking out nine batters and walking one. The two hits came from back-to-back hits in the third inning. Caglianone landed 57 strikes in his 79 total pitches.
Gators Build on Insurance Runs
The only way for this game to fit the narrative of this weekend is if the Gators rallied 10 runs again. They were close.
The bottom of the seventh saw five more runs cross the plate for the Gators. The freshman Heyman singled to start things off. Michael Robertson followed with a double. Wyatt Langford walked to load the bases and Riopelle walked to bring in a run. A sac fly by Rivera made it 5-0 Gators and Evans roped a two RBI double down the left field line to make it 7-0. Tyler Shelnut walked and an infield single by Kurland scored Evans for the final run of the seventh inning.
Blake Purnell, Brandon Neely Toss Scoreless
Blake Purnell came in relief for Caglianone in the seventh and held up the two hit game.
Then, after a strikeout and a groundout for Purnell, Brandon Neely came in to close. He retired his four batters and wrapped this one up for the Gators.
Florida won 8-0 and outscored Charleston Southern 37-5 on the weekend. They’ll go on the road Tuesday to play The University of South Florida at 6pm.