The task for Florida baseball to get out of Regionals and face South Carolina in Super Regionals next week is not easy. After losing to Texas Tech Saturday night, the Gators needed to win three games in two days to win the region.
Yesterday Florida completed two-thirds of the journey to set up a winner take all matchup this afternoon against Texas Tech.
Florida Baseball: Matchup Proof
Florida first had to get past UConn in the afternoon game. The Gators were getting decent contact the first two times through the lineup but just couldn’t get the breakthrough hit. After three innings, the game was tied at 1-1, with Wyatt Langford walking home the lone run.
The tide shifted in the fourth inning when Cade Kurland hit a line drive up the middle that ricocheted off the back of UConn pitcher Garrett Coe. Coe laid on the ground for several minutes before exiting the game. The Huskies brought in a right-handed reliever to face Langford and got him out with one pitch.
With the lefthanded Jac Caglianone up to bat, UConn went to the bullpen again for a left-handed pitcher.
It didn’t matter as Caglianone launched a three-run home run on the first pitch to break the game open.
Hurston Waldrep did his part on the mound and went seven innings while giving up just one run, and when Caglianone hit his second home run of the game in the eighth inning, the Gators could officially make plans for the evening game after winning 8-2.
Two-thirds of the journey complete
The rematch against Texas Tech wasn’t too dissimilar to the first meeting of the teams. Florida kept making good contact off the bat, with the ball repeatedly hitting 100 MPH and more off the bat, but Florida kept finding the gloves of the Red Raiders.
Cade Fisher gave a monster day on the mound, going seven innings, but the game was still tied at zero heading into the sixth inning.
Florida baseball was in business and had runners on second and third with no outs, and Langford, Caglianone, and Josh Rivera were due up.
But then Langford grounded into a fielder’s choice and due to braindead baserunning by the Gators, Florida had two runners thrown out at home on the same play.
Now with two outs and a runner on second, it was up to Caglianone to salvage the situation.
Mission accomplished as he roped a single to right field that scored Langford and gave Florida the lead.
Texas Tech imploded themselves after a throwing error allowed Caglianone to score, and when the inning was done, the Gators had four runners cross the plate.
The Red Raiders got one back in the eighth inning, but Langford doubled home two runs to make it 7-1 and set up today’s winner-take-all matchup.
It’s going to be an all-hands-on-deck approach with the pitching staff today, but if the pitching can hold up, Florida baseball has to like its chances to win and advance. The Gators have been making solid contact at a much better rate than Texas Tech, it just hasn’t been rewarded for it.
The game will start at 12 PM, and the winner will face South Carolina in the Super Regional round next weekend.