The mantra in June for Florida baseball is to survive and advance. While winning by large margins is nice for fan blood pressure, all that matters is to find a way to win, period.
And even though the bats for the Gators didn’t have a great night against FAMU, Kevin O’Sullivan’s pitching gamble before the game paid off, and Florida moves on to the winner’s bracket to face Texas Tech today.
Florida Baseball: Game Theory at its Finest
Jac Caglianone normally takes the mound on Sundays, but Florida opted to throw him in the opener against FAMU. Caglianone has had an up-and-down season as a pitcher, and Florida wanted to save Bradon Sporat and Hurston Waldrep for later in the week.
The move paid off as Caglianone found the zone just enough and was able to overpower Rattler hitters all night as he went six innings, giving up just four hits while striking out seven.
More importantly, he gave up no runs on a night where Florida couldn’t seem to score either. The night started out looking like the Gators were going to have an easy night. Josh Rivera hit a two-run home run in the first inning, and all was well.
But as the night progressed, Florida just couldn’t solve FAMU pitcher Caleb Granger. The closest they got was in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with one out, but then Caglianone hit into a double play to end the inning with no runs.
Florida added an insurance run in the eighth inning, and it came in handy as FAMU put up a threat in the ninth.
Braindead baserunning by FAMU allowed Florida to throw back-to-back runners out at home, and the game ended with a 3-0 victory for Florida.
It may seem underwhelming, but considering fellow region hosts Auburn, Coastal Carolina, and Oklahoma State all lost their opening game, while Clemson and Indiana State had to come from behind to win their opening game, to result suits the Florida Gators just fine.
In addition, Florida is well set up moving forward, while LSU opted to throw their ace, Paul Skenes, in their opener and won’t have him to face Oregon State.
Florida baseball will take on Texas Tech tonight at 6 PM.