A RBI single for Gators pitcher Jac Caglianone in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday against South Carolina. Florida beat the Gamecocks 11-9 at Condron Family Ballpark. [Cyndi Chambers/ Gainesville Sun]

Florida Baseball Launches 3 Homers To Secure 11-9 Win Over South Carolina

The No. 24 Florida Gators snapped a six-game losing streak Sunday with an 11-9 win against the South Carolina Gamecocks to move back over .500 on the season.

Compliments of an explosion at the plate and Jac Caglianoneโ€™s ability to get out of multiple jams on the mound, Florida (18-17, 7-8 SEC) avoided consecutive SEC sweeps by winning the final game of the series at Condron Family Ballpark.

Fresh Slate

The Gators’ losing skid was their longest since 2013.

With a rematch with Jacksonville on Tuesday and a road trip to Vanderbilt looming, the journey only gets tougher for the Gators. Likely to keep drifting down the rankings after losing the series to South Carolina (25-11, 8-7), the Gators can still be happy with the momentum they built in Game 3.

With strong five innings from Caglianone, who also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a 464-foot home run (20th on the season), and a solid showing from the bullpen, Florida is hopeful it can turn things around.

“It’s a big win,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “It puts us one game under in the league and you start looking at the standings, except for a few teams, everybody is kind of bunched together.”

Out of a Jam

After being outscored 14-2 in first innings during the losing streak, Florida didn’t have that problem Sunday, but Caglianone (4-0) found himself in a jam on the mound in three of his five innings of work.

After giving up a leadoff double to start the game, Caglianone let his defense work to strand the runner on third.

The leadoff batter reached base in three of his five innings of three-run ball on four hits and four walks, putting the lefty in a few high leverage situations forcing him to make big pitches.

One pressured situation went the way of South Carolina in the second inning, as the Gamecocks best hitter Ethan Petry put an 0-2 fastball from Caglianone into the Gator bullpen for a two-run homer.

Caglianone found himself in another high-leverage scenario with the bases loaded in the fifth inning as his pitch count neared 100.

O’Sullivan called a mound meeting to help him reset. He followed up with a dribbling grounder back to the mound two pitches later to escape the inning spotless and fire up his team by collecting seven stranded runners on the afternoon.

“Its always intense against South Carolina,” Caglianone said. “Just being a source of energy for the team you know, keeping them going.”

Hot Bats

Eight UF starters collected hits in the win, including five players with multiple knocks as well. Florida tallied 14 hits, just one shy of tying its season high.

The combustion of runs started in the second inning.

The response to a 1-0 deficit? Three home runs in high fashion for a five-spot to take the lead.

Brody Donay (2-for-4, 2 RBI) followed a Cade Kurland walk with a 110-mph homer to left field, his fifth on the season.

From there, Dale Thomas knocked his first of two hits for a backside double. Coming off a four-hit night Saturday, Ty Evans (2-for-4, 3 RBI) blasted a 2-run shot for a career-high-tying ninth homer making it 4-1.

Caglianone joined in on the launch party in the ensuing at bat, belting his 20th homer (60th career), and his sixth bomb in his last six games raising his batting average to .393.

Florida struck again in the third when Colby Shelton (3-for-5) led off with a hustle double, later brought in by a Kurland RBI single up the middle to make it 6-3.

Shell Yeah

Colby Shelton (2-for-5), Tyler Shelnut (1-for-5) and Caglianone helped the Gators add five more runs in the sixth to stretch the lead back out 11-5.

Caglianone poked a ball by the third baseman to reel in a run and the combo of Shelton and Shelnut hit consecutive RBI doubles to deep right-center field.

With an 11-5 lead in hand, right-hander Luke McNeillie continued his dominance out of the bullpen by tossing a zero in the seventh, including forcing a 4-6-3 double play to end the frame.

After handing the ball to Fisher Jameson in the eighth, South Carolina scored two runs to make it 11-7 on a throwing error behind the plating another run on a 6-3 double play.

The Gamecocks did not go quietly, however, adding two late runs in the ninth on a two-run homer to right by designated hitter Dalton Reeves. Jameson sealed the deal with a groundout to third base and a strikeout.

Up Next

Florida hosts Jacksonville (15-18) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network+, ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF). The Gators are looking for revenge against the Dolphins, who upset the Gators 7-6 on March 19.

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