No. 2 Florida Gators baseball forces rubber match with Texas Tech to decide 2023 Gainesville Regional

By Staff
June 4, 2023
No. 2 Florida Gators baseball forces rubber match with Texas Tech to decide 2023 Gainesville Regional

Image Credit: UAA

Despite entering as the No. 2 overall seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, the Florida Gators were not playing their best baseball as postseason competition began. That less-than-stellar play continued over the first two days of the Gainesville Regional, but a complete effort in consecutive elimination games Sunday may have turned around Florida’s hopes not just for this round but the entire tournament.

Hours after winning an 8-2 rout over the UConn Huskies, the bats remained alive for Florida in a 7-1 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders — both wins aided by superb pitching performances. The result is a rubber match between UF and TT on Monday at noon ET to decide the regional champion.

The Gators batted around in the top of the sixth against the Red Raiders, rallying with two outs to break open a scoreless game with a 4-0 lead. This despite an astoundingly poor base-running miscue that cost Florida prime position as it opened the frame with no outs and runners on second and third.

Sophomore first baseman Jac Caglianone got the scoring started Sunday night with an RBI. Earlier in the day, he fueled UF’s win over UConn with the 30th and 31st home runs of the season, making him the NCAA Division I home run leader in 2023. Caglianone now has 83 RBI on the season, sitting him barely second on Florida’s single-season list with the team’s home run crown already on his resume.

Junior centerfielder Wyatt Langford added a two-run double in the top of the ninth as part of a three insurance runs scored by Florida to pad its margin of victory.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Cade Fisher was exemplary for the Gators in the nightcap, allowing one earned run while striking out six and tossing a career-high 93 pitches in a career-long seven-inning outing. Junior RHP Hurston Waldrep was even better in the afternoon with one earned run and 12 strikeouts in seven innings against the Huskies.

After losing to Texas Tech as a visitor in the second game of its hosted regional, Florida found itself in the loser’s bracket needing to win twice Sunday to force a decisive third showdown Monday against the only team to beat it over the weekend.

The Gators are seeking to advance out of regional play for the first time since 2018, the year after head coach Kevin O’Sullivan led the program to its only national championship

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