The Florida Gator Baseball team defeated Alabama in walk off fashion 8-7 in the first game of a doubleheader; the win clinched the series for the Gators.
It was a back and forth ballgame after the first inning in what could have been anyone’s game. A handful of long balls and clutch hitting helped the Gators win this one.
Jac Caglianone started on the mound for the Gators with Ben Hess on the mound for Alabama.
Exchange of Three-Run Home Runs
Unlike Thursday night where Alabama only had one hit, they came out swinging on Friday the first time though the order. Four batters in and Florida was down early.
Jim Jarvis was handed first base via walk to open the game and Will Hodo followed with a base hit. Drew Williamson then launched a ball over the left field fence to put the Crimson Tide up 3-0.
But, one swing of the bat and this game would be tied.
The first base runner for the Gators came by a hit by pitch to Cade Kurland. Josh Rivera then singled and it was BT Riopelle that made this a brand new ballgame. A ball that looked like it was high enough for a fly out, ended up landing over the right field fence for a three-run home run.
Alabama Tallies a Couple on
The top of the second gave Alabama an early lead again. Colby Shelton was given first via hit-by-pitch and Caden Rose would swap places with him from a fielder’s choice. Jarvis then singled and a single by Hodo would score Rose, 4-3 Alabama.
Caglianone didn’t have his best stuff on the mound but after that run he retired the next eight batters before running into trouble again. The Gators had a chance to tie it in the fourth inning when BT Riopelle led off with a double. He was able to advance to third but no one was able to bring him in with one out.
Hodo walked in the fifth and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Pinckney. Williamson then stepped up to the plate and ripped a double to score Hodo for his fourth RBI of the game, 5-3 Alabama.
Freshman Cade Kurland Rakes
In only his second SEC game of his career, freshman Cade Kurland showed he’s not intimated by anyone on the mound. After a two-run bomb in the sixth in Thursday’s game, he launched another in the fifth to inch Florida one run closer.
Back and Forth Scoring
Caglianone was relieved by Nick Ficarrotta in the sixth inning. Caglianone gave up five earned runs with two walks and six strikeouts in his five innings of work; he threw 100 pitches, 57 for strikes.
The bottom of the sixth saw a brand new ballgame. Josh Rivera led off and launched a long ball over to right center, his ninth of the year that tied the game at 6-6. Hodo led off the seventh with a single for Alabama and Pinckney walked. Lefty Cade Fisher relieved Ficarrotta after his 1.1 innings pitched and he gave up a single to Williamson that scored Hodo and Alabama took a 6-5 lead.
And it would be a tied ballgame again in the bottom of the seventh. Tyler Shelnut ripped a double to left field to lead off. A ground out by Colby Halter advanced him to third and Michael Robertson would bring him home on a base hit.
Alabama would then take the lead by another long ball to make it a 7-6 ballgame.
Florida Calls Ballgame on a Walk-Off
Everything clicked for Florida in the ninth inning. The hits were contagious and the dugout was there to lift one another up.
Colby Halter led off the ninth tying the ballgame on a home run to left field. The whole dugout erupted and met him at home plate. The energy continued to carry through the next at bats. Robertson followed with a single to center and Kurland was hit by a pitch. Two on, one out.
A single by Rivera sent Robertson home for the game winning run and the series win.
Philip Abner got the win for the Gators while Riley Quick was handed the loss for Alabama.