Wyatt Langford celebrates his home run against Cincinnati. Photo via @GatorsBB on twitter

Bats shine as Gator Baseball Defeats JU

Fresh off a sweep over Cincinnati over the weekend, the Florida baseball team on Tuesday night returned to the diamond looking to continue their dominance.ย ย Bullpen struggles nearly cost a lead, but consistent offensive dominance kept Jacksonville at bay in a blowout 18-8 win over the Dolphins.

Florida’s Cade Kurland made it 9-1 in the fifth inning with his first career grand slam, but a five-run fifth inning by the Dolphins made it 9-6 and gave Florida a scare.

However, nine runs over the last four innings iced the game and gave Florida their eighth win of the season. Additionally, Florida took advantage of seven total errors by Jacksonville, leading to a new season-high 18 runs.

“We were really good offensively,” Florida baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Obviously, Wyatt [Langford] with the four-hit night, and Luke [Heyman] having a three-hit night. Cade [Kurland] hit the big grand slam there. Offensively, really no complaints.”

Dolphin errors equal Gator runs

Jacksonville committed four of its seven errors through the game’s first four innings. All led to four runs for the Gators.

Luke Heyman drove in the game’s first run in the second inning with a groundout to score Josh Rivera from third.

In the third inning, base hits by Richie Schiekofer and Luke Heyman put two on base. Colby Halter laid down a bunt to bring Schiekofer home, putting the Gators up 2-0.ย ย Cade Kurland reached base in the next at-bat after an error, which allowed Heyman to score from second.

From there, Wyatt Langford hit a base hit, and a fielding error and a throwing error by centerfielder Cam Ridley allowed Kurland to score from first.

Dolphin DH Chandler Howard put Jacksonville on the board with a home run in the fourth inning to make it 4-1.

Five in the fifth

After retiring the first two batters, JU pitcher Bryce Fisher hit Rivera and Schiekofer, leading to Tommy Allman to relieve him on the mound.

The change didn’t work for the Dolphins.

A Heyman base hit loaded the bases, and Allman walked Halter to bring home another run.ย ย From there, Kurland stepped into the batter’s box. Fresh off a seven-hit, six-RBI weekend against Cincinnati, the freshman blasted his first career grand slam to put Florida up 9-1. Kurland would plate four runs on Tuesday night.

Dolphins fight back after pitching change

Ryan Slater got the start on the mound for Florida and pitched the first four innings for the Gators. The redshirt sophomore struck out four batters while allowing only three hits and one unearned run, but his strong performance didn’t extend to the bullpen.

Nick Ficarrotta took the mound in the fifth, and like the Dolphins, struggled in his first inning of relief.

JU outfielder Elias Flowers brought in Colin Wetterau off a base hit to make it 9-2.ย ย After Ficarrota hit Chase Malloy to put two on base, Cam Ridley snuck one inside the left field foul pole for a three run home run.ย  Former Gator Kris Armstrong sent another over the fence in the next at-bat, and a 9-1 lead quickly turned into a 9-6 lead, and the Gators were in danger of another lead blown in a midweek game.

“Credit JU,” O’Sullivan said. “They earned everything that they got tonight. It wasn’t like we made errors. It wasn’t like we walked a bunch of guys. They just had a pretty good night offensively.”

Ficarrotta would retire five of his next six batters faced while recording three strikeouts.

Gators stretch the lead, but JU won’t go away

Jac Caglianone on Sunday hit three home runs in the Gators’ win over Cincinnati. Overall, his six home runs during the week earned him National Player of the Week honors by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.

On Tuesday, he picked up right where he left off with a sixth inning home run to stretch the lead to four.

Additionally, Langford added a two-run blast in the seventh inning to give Florida a six-run lead; he finished the game with four hits in five at-bats.

“I think he’s really starting to settle in,” O’Sullivan said. “I wouldn’t say he was pressing early on, just early in the year and maybe just getting pitched a little bit differently that what he was expecting. Certainly, he is seeing the ball really well.”

Fisher Jameson took the mound in the seventh, but as with Ficarrotta, allowed some damage to the Gators’ lead.

Hogan McIntosh hit a double to score Malloy, and Howard added a RBI single to score McIntosh. Once again, a stretched lead was cut, and Florida led 12-8 after seven innings.

After Ty Evans walked and BT Riopelle doubled to start the eighth inning, Rivera got in on the action with a two-run single to give Florida a 14-8 lead.

Florida made another pitching change as Phillip Abner took the mound in the eighth, but the bullpen struggles did not extend to the sophomore. He struck out the side to hold the lead heading into the final inning.

Four more runs ice it

After Kurland added his second hit of the night to lead off the ninth inning, a Langford walk and Caglianone single loaded the bases for Ty Evans. A sacrifice fly would score Kurland. Additionally, Riopelle recorded his lone RBI of the night with a base hit to score Langford.

Jacksonville’s sixth and seventh errors, both by Armstrong, allowed Caglianone and Riopelle to score. The play gave Florida its 18th run, the most this season. Meanwhile, Armstrong was responsible for four of the Dolphins’ seven errors.

From there, Abner struck out three more in the ninth inning to seal the win.

Up Next

The Gators return to Condron Family Ballpark on Wednesday night for the second game against the Dolphins. First pitch is at 6 p.m. with radio coverage on WRUF beginning at 5:55 p.m.

About Cam Parker

Cam is a fourth-year broadcast journalism sports and media major at the University of Florida. In addition to writing and recording radio trendings for WRUF, Cam covers North Florida HS football for The Prep Zone and Mainstreet Daily News and UF football and basketball for Inside the Gators.

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