Florida pitcher Jac Caglianone during Saturday's NCAA regional game against Oklahoma State at O'Brate Stadium. [Mitch Alcala-The Oklahoman]

NCAA Stillwater Regional: Oklahoma State Routs Florida, 7-1

No. 11 national seed Oklahoma State defeated the Florida Gators baseball team 7-1 Saturday in the Stillwater Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

It’s a game to erase from memory if you are the Gators. The Cowboys (42-17) pounded Florida (29-28) early, the bullpen could not contain Ok. State’s momentum and a cold performance at the plate by last year’s runners-up.

The Gators look to survive out of an elimination game against Nebraska (40-21), which they defeated 5-2 in Friday’s opening round, today at 2 p.m. ET (ESPN+, ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF). The Cornhuskers eliminated Niagara 7-5 earlier Saturday.

Home Run Or Bust

Jac Caglianone (5-2) got the ball for Florida. And as the lefty started to fall into a rhythm, he was slammed with back-to-back home runs that gave the Pokes a 2-0 lead. After striking out the side in the second, the Cowboys rattled off two more home runs to make their lead 4-0 in the third.

Caglianone had allowed four home runs all season, but the Cowboys matched that total in three innings at O’Brate Stadium on Saturday. The first three home runs were on different pitches: a changeup, slider and a fastball.

Although Caglianone ended his outing allowing the four runs in five innings, he gave an admirable pitching performance. The junior lefty punched out eight Cowboy batters. The long ball was Caglianone’s downfall, but in the small glimpse, Caglianone showed why he is a projected top-10 pick in the MLB draft come July.

Twelve of the 25 at-bats faced by Caglianone ended in a strikeout or a home run. The four home runs given up are a career-high for Caglianone.

Welcome To Postseason Baseball

Ryan Slater relieved Caglianone in the sixh and pitched just one inning. Although facing just four batters, Slater tossed 39 pitches. All four of Slater’s batters reached a 3-2 count. After walking a pair, a softly hit ball to second base ended in a fielder’s choice. But the Gators doubled up Oklahoma State to end the inning at home plate on a bizarre 4-6-3-2 double play.

Florida opted to throw three freshmen to end the game: Jake Clemente, Robert Satin and Grayson Smith.

OSU-UF Boxscore

Clemente got the seventh and after walking the first batter, allowed a nuke to right field for the Pokes’ fifth of the game. Clemente was yanked after walking and hitting a batter.

Satin cooled things off in the seventh to minimize damage for the Gators. This was the 10th appearance all season for Satin.

Coach Kevin O’Sullivan went to Smith to carry things out for Florida. Smith let up two hits and struck out three in two shutout innings to round out the game.

As a pitching unit, Florida struck out 12, left 12 runners stranded and forced a .111 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Where Are The Bats?

The Gators have had a combined 16 hits in their two games in Stillwater – 14 on Friday and two Saturday. A large part due to the dominant pitching performance by Tampa native Brian Holiday (7-3). The Land O’ Lakes standout tossed nine innings, striking out 10 Gators and allowing just one run. The junior lowered his ERA to 2.80 after hurling the 131-pitch complete game.

As a team, the Gators hit 2-for-30 for a .067 average. Florida was hitless in 10 at-bats with runners on.

The only bright spot at the dish Saturday came in the ninth inning when the game was out of reach. Caglianone smoked a ball to center field that carried a solid 30 feet passed the fence. This solo shot gave Caglianone his 30th homer of the season to become the first player in SEC history to have multiple 30-home run seasons as well as the second player in D1 to do the feat back-to-back years since the late 1980s.

https://twitter.com/GatorsBB/status/1797083596521644173

Up Next

The season is on the line Sunday against Nebraska, the regional two seed. A win for the three seed Gators would put them in the regional final against OSU later Sunday. Then, they would have to beat Ok. State twice to move onto the Super Regional.

There is still some optimism for Gator fans. In last year’s Gainesville Regional, the Gators dropped their second game and ended up winning three straight to advance to the Super Regional.

Stillwater Regional

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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