UF sophomore Cade Kurland swings against Stetson in the Condron Family Ballpark on Tuesday. [Lee Ann Anderson/WRUF]

Gators Wrangle Stetson 13-3, Clobbering 7 Homers To Split Series

Thanks to a string of early hits and fireworks accompanied by a solid outing from Cade Fisher, the Gators run-ruled Stetson 13-3 to split the season series Tuesday at Condron Family Ballpark.

Florida stretched its home winning streak against the Hatters to seven games and moved to 21-19 while Stetson fell to 26-15 on the season.

Tuesday Night Fireworks

2,814.

That’s the total number of feet in seven combined home runs the Gators fired off en route to a throttling revenge game against the Hatters while collecting 16 hits.

It started in the second inning when Florida exploded for seven runs sparked by three homers in that inning alone.

After a leadoff single from Tyler Shelnut (2-for-4) the fireworks started with a laser beam homer run from Luke Heyman (2-for-3, 2 RBI), his second homer against Stetson this season.

Cade Kurland was then hit by a pitch and Hayden Yost (2-for-4) lined a single before both players scored on a single by Michael Robertson (3-for-4, 3 RBI).

The statement inning was capped off by back-to-back longballs from Ty Evans (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Jac Caglianone (3-for-4, 3 RBI).

Stetson scratched a run across in the third and fourth inning, but stellar defense from the Gators infield by Shelnut laying out on the third-base line and Caglianone extending his backhand down the right-field line to save two more runs being tacked on killed the rally.

Florida responded with a leadoff backside home run from Robertson in the nine hole to go up 8-2 in the fourth.

Caglianone’s Reign

After tying the NCAA record with nine consecutive games with a homer Friday, Caglianone just missed one Saturday in the finale at Vanderbilt.

He made up for it in consecutive at-bats Tuesday with another homer run to left field after Robertson to put the Gators up 9-2.

https://twitter.com/GatorsBB/status/1782919659081343153

After launching 13 homers in his last 14 games, Caglianone is forcing coaches to change the way they pitch to him or maybe even not pitching to him at all.

Stetson gave him the Barry Bonds treatment in the fifth inning, intentionally walking the heavy hitter in the middle of a 2-1 count with no one on base and two outs.

Sitting at a .410 batting average and mores homers (25) than strikeouts (14) on the year, could we be watching one, if not the best, raw-powered collegiate hitters of all time?

Regardless, the chase for the home run title is certainly getting tighter. Caglianone is just one behind Georgia’s Charlie Condon for the national lead.

Putting it Together

The Gators have struggled to put it all together in a game this season. With 11 freshman arms in the bullpen, it’s hard to ignore. However, Tuesday was not the case.

The pitchers for Florida looked clean, quick and intentional.

“It was pretty much how you wanted to draw it up. We haven’t had any of those this year, but everybody’s under 40 pitches,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “To be able to play a midweek game and not get anybody overextended, and they’re still fresh to go on Friday night is important and that’s kind of what you hope for.”

Fisher was able to settle in early thanks to the run support. He gave up one run on four hits while striking out one in two frames. Two putouts behind the plate from Heyman shifted the momentum for each of Fisher’s innings as well.

Fisher did slack in the third inning by loading the bases on three consecutive singles with no outs, but Ryan Slater (3-1) picked him up to escape the jam by giving up a lone run to pull the momentum back toward the Gators.

Freshman Frank Menendez and Luke McNeillie combined for 2.1 innings in relief, giving up just one hit on three strikeouts to blank the Hatters.

Firework Finale

The relief pitching held the lead and opened the door for the hot bats to surge in the seventh to seal off the run-rule victory.

Shelnut led off with a single and scored on a 426-foot bomb to dead center off the bat of Cade Kurland to make it 11-3.

https://twitter.com/GatorsBB/status/1782934521706582507

Brody Donay came up with the biggest homer of the night, launching an 0-1 fastball into the stratosphere with a 492-foot mammoth.

Caglianone finished the night with a walk-off RBI single roped into right field to call the game early.

A game of this caliber is what Florida needed with the road only getting tougher by having to face three of the top four teams in the nation.

“Games like that are what helps a team get rolling,” Robertson said. “It gives us some energy and some fire going into the weekend ready to do some damage here in the back end.”

Up Next

The Gators hit the road for the second weekend in a row, heading to Fayetteville for a three-game conference set with the No. 2 Arkansas Razorbacks (35-6, 14-4 in SEC). Game 1 on Friday is set for 8 p.m. ET (SEC Network, ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF).

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