Florida's Jac Caglianone pitched six shutout innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts while going 3-for-5 at the plate with a solo home run in Sunday's win against Miami. [Cyndi Chambers/ Gainesville Sun]

Caglianone Shines As Gators Win Series Against Miami

After losing 10-6 Saturday against the Miami Hurricanes, the No. 4 Florida Gators rebounded Sunday to take the series 8-4 on the strength of five home runs.

Jac Caglianone had one of the most productive days of his collegiate career, Colby Shelton is finding his spot on the Gators (8-3) and the Hurricanes (6-5) tried to spoil the Gators late.

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Jeffrey Alan Caglianone

In last year’s start against Miami, Caglianone pitched six innings, gave up four hits with one earned run and struck out out eight batters. He topped that performance Sunday in Coral Gables.

Caglianone (1-0) pitched a gem in going six innings, striking out a career-high 11, allowing three hits and no runs. If Caglianone stays another year, which is highly unlikely, the junior may pitch a no-hitter against the Hurricanes.

Caglianone’s pitching Sunday may have been his best outing in his time in Gainesville, considering the circumstances. The Gators needed a solid performance from Caglianone in the rubber match of the series. Going into a hostile environment against your rival is as rough of conditions as it could be in a non-SEC game. But Caglianone gave Florida what it needed and then some pitching and offered a little more at the plate.

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Caglianone went 3-for-5  with a solo home run in the fifth inning. Caglianone’s missle to right field traveled 408 feet and had an exit velocity of 110 MPH. The lefty has hit a home run in three of the last four games and is getting hot at the plate when the Gators need him most.

Multiple Colby Jacks

With Josh Rivera, Wyatt Langford and BT Riopelle all leaving the lineup after last season, the Gators needed to find production fast and by any means possible. In comes shortstop Colby Shelton, an Alabama transfer who was named to the SEC All-Freshman team last season. Shelton had big shoes to fill with Rivera going to the MLB, and so far Shelton is filling it cleanly in 2o24.

Shelton started the action early for the Gators by going opposite field for a first-inning two-run home run. A ball that traveled 30 feet in the air and just went out past the left field fence.

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The sophomore shortstop went deep again on another two-run home run in the ninth to give the Gators much-needed insurance runs. Shelton finished the day with four RBI and a batting average up to .324 with a team-leading five homers.

‘Canes Try To Play Spoiler

Once Caglianone left the game after the sixth inning, the Gators held a five-run lead. With the help of Ty Evans and Tyler Shelnut‘s back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, it was looking like a bludgeoning by the Gators at Mark Light Field.

But the bats could only muster one run for two innings. Ryan Slater pitched and Miami had the bases loaded with the chance of making it a two-run game with the ninth inning left to play.

UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan decided to replace Slater with Brandon Neely with two outs and the bases juiced. On the first pitch from Neely, Miami’s Dorian Gonzalez Jr. slammed the ball over the center field wall to make it a 6-4 game. All the momentum shifted in Miami’s favor with a prime opportunity to pull a late upset against the Gators.

But the Gators regained it on Shelton’s second home run, the two-run blast in the ninth for an 8-4 lead. Neely, one of the best relievers in the country, had the Hurricanes go down in order in the ninth on two strikeouts and a popup.

Florida is 22-8 against Miami in the last 30 meetings after its fifth consecutive series win in Coral Gables (last series loss here coming in 2014).

Up Next

The Gators will play their next 1o games at Condron Family Ballpark and will face off against the Florida Atlantic Owls (6-5) on Tuesday night.

The Gators have not announced a starting pitcher, but first pitch for Tuesday’s game will be at 6 p.m. (SEC Network+, ESPN Gainesville 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF).

UF then welcomes UCF on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

About Nick VanZandt

Nick VanZandt is a senior journalism student at the University of Florida and this is his third semester working for WRUF.

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