Florida Baseball Drops Game 5-2 to the Gamecocks, Suffering its First Series Loss

The Florida Gator baseball team suffered its first series loss of the season to South Carolina, dropping game two of the series 5-2. The Gators struggled hitting with runners in scoring position as they left nine runners on base.

Hurston Waldrep started on the mound for Florida as Jack Mahoney was handed the ball for South Carolina.

23 Jac Jacks

Thanks to one swing of the bat, the Gators were up an early 1-0 on the Gamecocks. It took Jac Caglianone five pitches to launch his nation leading 23rd home run of the season.

Gamecocks Break Open the Game

And, it would take South Carolina one swing of the bat for it to take a one run lead. Waldrep issued a walk to Braylen Wimmer and a two run homer to left field by Cole Messina made it 2-1 in the first inning.

The Gators left a runner on first after Luke Heyman led the second inning off with a single.

Evan Stone started the second inning for the Gamecocks with a base hit. A sac bunt advanced him and a walk to Wimmer would put two runners on.ย Behind Caglianone in the home run race is Ethan Petry. The freshman for South Carolina would match his long ball in the bottom of the second as he belted his 20th home run to left field, putting the Gamecocks ahead 5-1.

Waldrep struck out the side in the third inning but his offense wasn’t able to help him, leaving two runners on base in the top of the fourth inning from a single by Luke Heyman and a double by Cade Kurland.

Florida Knocks in a Run

The Gators got some offense going in the top of the fifth after a walk to Michael Roberston and a single by Wyatt Langford. Caglianone grounded out to advance the runners and a wild pitch sent Robertson in from third, making it 5-2. Josh Rivera worked a walk but a double play ended the inning.

Waldrep Settles in and Excels

After giving up the home run to Petry in the second inning, Waldrep settled in as he retired nine straight batters and pitched well after five innings of work.

Heyman singled to start the sixth inning for his third straight hit of the day. But, Florida would strand him on base as they continued to struggle piecing together hits.

Waldrep looked like he was in trouble in the bottom of the sixth after a tight squeeze to the zone. He issued a walk to Michael Braswell and Carson Hornung followed with a single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Waldrep’s pitch count was rising over 100 but a few words from him during a mound visit convinced head coach Kevin O’Sullivan to keep him in the game.

Not only did he get out of the inning, but he struck out three straight batters for his 10th strikeout of the game to end the sixth inning. Waldrep was fired up, sending his offense back to the plate to try and tally runs.

Florida’s Offense and Relieve Pitching Struggles

The Gators continued to struggle piecing together hits. They left two on base in the seventh after Roberston and Caglianone singled. Clete Hartzog entered on the mound in the seventh inning, giving up a walk but the Gamecocks the runner. Blake Purnell would relieve Hartzog and struggled with his command, throwing seven straight balls to walk two. But, he was able to get out of the inning.

Florida couldn’t put up a fight in the ninth as the Gamecocks would shut the door on the Gators, winning 5-2. The Orange and Blue look to avoid the sweep on Saturday with two-way Caglianone on the mound.

About Gabriela Vitale

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