Gators
Florida's Jac Caglianone (14) was the starting pitcher for the Gators against Stetson in Game 1 of their Fall Ball exhibition double-header, November 5, 2023, at Condron Family Ballpark in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators won Game 1, 7-4. [Cyndi Chambers/ Gainesville Sun] 2023

Gators Tack On 12 Runs En Route to First Series Sweep of Season

The No. 4 Florida Gators baseball team secured its first series sweep of the 2024 campaign Sunday by defeating the Columbia Lions 12-5 at Condron Family Ballpark.

Left fielder Tyler Shelnut belted a three-run home run to get Florida (5-1) rolling to a five-run first inning. First baseman Luke Heyman chipped in a 2-for-4 performance with three RBIs and shortstop Colby Shelton also knocked out a solo shot in the fifth inning.

Florida’s two-way phenom Jac Caglianone had some strong flashes both in the batter’s box and on the mound. At the plate, he went 2-for-4 and tacked on an RBI. As for his pitching, Caglianone struck out seven Lions in his three innings of work. He also allowed three runs on two hits and two walks.

One of the hits off Caglianone was a three-run home run in the third by Columbia senior designated hitter Cole Hage.

Freshman pitcher Alex Philpott took over for Caglianone for the next three innings. He excelled en route to his second win of the season, compiling a line of two hits, one walk, no runs and six strikeouts. Freshmen relievers Grayson Smith, Jacob Gomberg and Robert Satin combined to finish off the Lions (0-3) in the final three frames.

Gators Pounce On The Lions Right Away

Redshirt sophomore left fielder Michael Robertson started the Gators in the first with a double down the left field line. Heyman smacked an RBI double following an out to put UF up 1-0. Shelton then walked ahead of right fielder Ty Evans’ RBI double.

Shelnut stepped into the batter’s box knowing he had a golden opportunity to cement Florida’s control of the game.

As the first pitch came in, Shelnut immediately let his swing rip. As soon as the ball left his bat, every fan in attendance at Condron Ballpark knew it was gone. Shelnut blasted the three-run bomb over the fence and onto Hull Road to give the Gators a 5-0 lead.

“We have a good-hitting team,” Heyman said. “We just continued to do what we do best, getting our pitches and not trying to do too much in staying in our approaches.”

Keeping Columbia In Check

Florida tacked on three more runs in the second for a commanding 8-0 lead. Senior center fielder Jaylen Guy led off with a walk before reaching second on an infield knock from Robertson. Caglianone hit a run-scoring single before Heyman hit a two-run double to score Robertson and Caglianone.

Not to be outdone, Hage responded with a three-run homer in the third inning for the Lions to bring the score to 8-3.

Caglianone, refusing to let his emotions get the best of him, swiftly got the situation back under control. He sent the next three batters he faced back to the dugout with a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to third.

“[My stuff] was good for a first outing, I just made one bad pitch and paid for it,” Caglianone said. “Thankfully, our hitters were on top of it and gave me plenty of run support, so I wasn’t stressing too much about it.”

With Caglianone already at 56 pitches through three innings, Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan opted to take him off the mound. Philpott took over in the fourth frame and immediately came at the Lions with everything he had. He retired the side in just 10 pitches with three consecutive strikeouts.

Florida Goes On Cruise Control

The Lions attempted a rally in the fifth with a single from freshman catcher Miles Blackwell and a two-out double from junior third baseman Griffin Palfrey. Junior center fielder Skye Selinsky then hit a weak grounder into shallow left field. Shelnut managed to corral the ball and find Heyman at first for an impressive tag-out to retire the side.

As the bottom of the fifth inning rolled around, Shelton wasted no time in getting the Gators back on the board. On the second pitch he saw, Shelton drilled a solo shot into the parking lot behind right field. His 429-foot moon shot extended Florida’s lead to 9-3.

The Gators extended the lead to 12-3 with three runs in the seventh. Caglianone led off with a single before Heyman and Shelton walked to load the bases. Two runs scored on walks to Shelnut and senior second baseman Dale Thomas.

Senior catcher Tanner Garrison capped the UF scoring with a sacrifice fly that drove in Shelton.

Pulling Out The Brooms

Columbia scored twice in the ninth to settle the final margin.

The Gators outscored the Lions 34-14 in the three wins.

https://twitter.com/GatorsBB/status/1761826335490793869

“I thought it was a good weekend,” O’Sullivan said. “Sometimes, you can get some wins on a weekend early in the season when you don’t play very well. But overall, I thought it was a really good weekend.”

Up Next

The Gators will hit the road Tuesday to play at Stetson, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+, ESPN Gainesville 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF). UF then hosts Bethune-Cookman at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday before starting a three-game series Friday at Miami.

About Jack Meyer

Jack Meyer is a third-year student at the University of Florida. He is majoring in Journalism and specializing in Sports and Media.

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