The Florida Gator baseball team gives up seven runs in the ninth inning to visiting USF as the Bulls rally to defeat the Gators 10-9 to enable the Bulls to split its midweek slate with the Gators. The Gators were able to tally 17 hits, but it was the ninth inning that cost them this game in the end.
Freshman Yoel Tejeda Jr. was handed the ball for Florida to make his first career start on the mound while Justin Jackson started on the bump for USF. Florida got a run in the first but USF scored two to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the third. However, the Gators answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. Atter the Bulls tied the game in the top of the fifth, the Gators scored three runs in the bottom of the inning on RBI hits by Jac Caglianone, Josh Rivera and Ty Evans to give Florida a 6-3 lead. Florida took an 8-3 lead in the eighth after an error and an RBI hit from Michael Robertson, who went 3 for 5 on the night. Offensively, Wyatt Langford and Dale Thomas went 2 for 4 and Jac Caglianone led the offense going 3 for 3 with a homer and two RBI..
Who Else but Jac Caglianone
Whether it’s on the mound or at the plate, it’s no surprise the two-way star made the first impact knock of the night. He lifted a 430-foot home run over the right center wall to give Florida a 1-0 lead in the first home half. That’s two home runs in two games for him. Caglianone was a triple shy of the cycle in Tuesday’s game against USF.
The Bulls started applying pressure on Tejeda getting deep into counts in the second. Nelson Rivera singled and stole second to start things off. Tejeda made an error on a ball rolling down the first base line and couldn’t pick it up, putting runners on the corners. The Bulls couldn’t capitalize though and the Gators kept the lead.
The third inning saw the most action for both dugouts. Back-to-back singles by Drew Brutcher and Bobby Boser put runners on for the Bulls. Marcus Brodil reached first on a fielder’s choice but the throw by Josh Rivera went beyond Caglianone at first and Brutcher tied it up 1-1. USF took its first lead of the game 2-1 on a RBI single by Rivera, but Tejeda was able to get out of the inning after that.
The Gators were able to respond though as Rene Lastres led off the third with his first hit of the season. Michael Robertson followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position. That was all Jackson could handle of the Gator lineup and in came Lawson Gailey for USF. A sacrifice fly by Wyatt Langford scored Lastres to tie it at two.
Free Bags for Cags
Would you be scared to throw to the guy who hit two home runs off you in the last 24 hours? Ask that to USF and they’d say yes.
It’s only the fifth game of the year and Caglianone saw his first intentional walk of his season. But Josh Rivera singled in a run that made it 3-2 Gators after the third. Caglianone would then be intentionally walked again in the eighth.
I would to be scared of Jac Caglianone.
USF has intentionally walked him twice tonight. He was a triple shy of the cycle against the Bulls last night and is 3-3 with a HR tonight.
— gabriela vitale (@gabyvitalee) February 23, 2023
Nick Ficarrotta came in relief of Tejeda in the fourth. Tejeda gave up two runs in his three innings of work. USF responded in the fifth with back-to-back singles by Boser and Brodil and Travis Sankovich singled to tie the game at 3-3..
Gators Take the Lead
But yet again, the Gators would battle back, rallying in the home half of the fifth. Dale Thomas doubled and an infield single by Robertson put runners on the corners. Caglianone and Rivera followed with back-to-back RBI singles to give the Gators a two run lead. An insurance run from an RBI single by Ty Evans made it 6-3 to end the fifth.
Ficarrotta continued to deal on the mound, cruising through the Bulls lineup. He finished his night giving up a run on four hits in 3.2 innings of relief. Lefty Chris Arroyo came in to make his career debut.
Arroyo recorded the last out of the inning and sent the Gators back to the plate up 6-3. Blake Purnell came in relief of Arroyo after he gave up a leadoff single in the eighth to retire the side and the Gators scored two more runs in the eighth to take what seemed like a comfortable lead but that would not be the case.
A Mess of a Ninth Inning for Florida
Brutcher led off the ninth for the Bulls with a home run to right field. Boser reached third on an error by Evans in right field who dropped a fly ball. A walk to Marcus Brodil sent Fisher Jameson in the game to relieve Purnell. After a strikeout Nelson Rivera had an RBI hit, his fourth hit of the night. Jackson Mayo pinch hit for the Bulls and on the first pitch he saw he hit a three run homer to right field to give the Bulls a 9-8 lead in the game. A walk to Eric Snow from Jameson sent Anthony Ursitti to the mound for the Gators.
Before Florida knew it, another run would score on a triple by Daniel Cantu and he would score on a passed ball to cap off the Bulls’ seven run inning.
Florida tried to come back in the bottom of the ninth. Cade Kurland walked with one out and he later scored on a single by pinch hitter Matthew Prevesk but that’s as far as the Gators would get in their comeback and they lost their first game of the year 10-9.
Looking Forward for the Gators
Though it was a tough loss, Florida was able to tally 17 hits and they now sit at 4-1 on the season.
They’ll hope to bounce back as they host Cincinnati this weekend for a three game series starting on Friday.