The Florida Gators Baseball team celebrates its win over Auburn to even the series. Photo via @GatorsBB on Twitter.

Florida Baseball’s Stellar Offense Helps Even Series With Auburn

The Florida Gator baseball team evened the series with the Auburn Tigers after a 19 hit night by its offense which helped the Gators beat the Tigers 12-5.

Florida offense was lights out with seven players having a multi-hit game. Jac Caglianone was a double shy of hitting for the cycle as he went 3 for 5 with two runs scored and four RBI; he also hit a homer which gave him the national lead in that department.Β  Other key hitters were Josh Rivera (3-4), BT Riopelle (2-4), Tyler Shelnut (2-5), Colby Halter (2-4), Ty Evans (2-2) and Michael Robertson (2-5).

Hurston Waldrep started on the mound for the Gators while John Armstrong toed the rubber for the Tigers.

Auburn Fights First

Just like Friday night against Brandon Sproat, Auburn stepped into the plate with an aggressive approach to face Waldrep. It took the leadoff hitter Cole Foster three pitches to rope a single to right field. Waldrep couldn’t find the zone and walked Bobby Pierce and then sent a wild pitch to the backstop to advance both runners. An RBI ground out by Ike Irish gave the Tigers an early 1-o lead.

Jac Caglianone’s 18th Moon Shot

As if the nation leader in home runs needed the 15 mph winds out to center, it wasn’t a surprise the first long ball of the game was off the bat of Caglianone.

Gators Turn An Impressive Two

It’s worth mentioning, Josh Rivera has made a new impression on this Florida team this year. Not only at the plate, but defensively as well. A line out in the second inning went straight to him and in a split second he flipped it to Cade Kurland for the double play. It was a huge play for the second out but it also saved a run because the next batter, Nate LaRue, doubled which would have scored a run.

Florida’s Five Spot in the Third

Auburn was able to rally back, taking a 3-2 lead in the third. Waldrep didn’t have his best stuff on the mound and free bases ended up costing him. He walked Cole Foster to lead off the inning and a home run by Bobby Pierce just barely made it over the right field wall to put them ahead.

But the lead didn’t last long as Florida rallied for a five-run inning in the third for a 7-3 lead.

Wyatt Langford led off reaching on a ball that grazed right under the third baseman’s glove for an error. Rivera singled and BT Riopelle was hit on the first pitch he saw to load the bases. Florida missed clutch hitting in the first game of the series but Saturday was much better in that department.Β  Tyler Shelnut laced a two RBI single to give the Gators the lead.Β  Colby Halter doubled down the left field line to score Riopelle to make it 5-3. Auburn then went to the pen and Christian Herberholz came into relieve Armstrong but Matthew Prevesk welcomed him with an RBI ground out and Michael Roberston followed with an RBI single to make it 7-3.

Waldrep’s Quality Start

Though the right handed pitcher hit his career high in walks at six, there’s a reason he’s projected to be a top 10 pick in the 2023 MLB draft.

Location was a problem in the early innings but once he found the zone, he was hard to hit. Seven of the first 14 batters he faced reached base with three of them scoring. After that, he retired the next 12 batters he faced with the last eight outs being strikeouts; he fanned 10 on the night.Β  Β In six innings of work, he allowed four hits and three runs while picking up the win.Β  Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan talked about his performance.

“He’s got some of the best swing and miss stuff that you’re going to see around the whole country. It’s just a matter of limiting the walks and doing a little bit better job getting the leadoff hitters,”Β  O’Sullivan said concerning Waldrep.

Late Back-and-Forth Scoring

The late innings saw more runs cross the plate, but none that affected the outcome of the game.

Langford worked a full count walk in the sixth and took his free base. Back to back singles by Rivera and Riopelle scored Langford to stretch the Gator lead to 8-3.

Nick Ficarrotta started the seventh inning in relief of Waldrep. Location struggles hurt him as well and he wasn’t able to get more than an out after giving up two earned runs and walking one. After Auburn tallied those two runs via a walk and two base hits, Florida went to the pen to grab its closer.

Brandon Neely came in and struck out his first batter, walked the second and got a ground out to end the inning.

Ty Evans came in to pinch hit for Prevesk in the seventh and singled to left field for his first hit. A fielder’s choice erased him but Roberston reached and advanced on a passed ball a few pitches later. Langford followed working his second walk of the game.

Caglianone was about a foot short of belting his second home run of the game. The ball stayed in the park for a two RBI triple to right center. Rivera recorded his third hit of the night, bringing in Caglianone to make it an 11-5 ballgame.

Gators Relief Pitching, Series Tied

Neely did his job closing this game after coming in for Ficarrotta. Florida’s offense was also not done tallying runs as one more crossed the plate in the eighth. Halter worked a walk, stole second and advanced to third on an error and Evans brought him in on an RBI single for his second hit of the night.Β Β Florida’s offense tallied 19 hits in the game. Neely pitched 2.2 shutout innings giving up one hit and striking out three batters, earning the save.

The Gators will go for the series win on Sunday in a rubber match starting at 1pm.

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