Photo by Samuel Lewis | Getty Images

Backed by an excellent performance by freshman pitcher Brandon Neely and another powerful showing by the offense, the Florida Gators defeated South Carolina 8-0 to clinch its final series of the 2022 regular season Friday.

Neely turned in his best performance of the year by finishing off seven innings of three hit ball. He struck out a career high ten and didn’t give up any free passes. Neely retired the final 13 batters he faced before turning it over to the bullpen for the final six outs.

Both teams had opportunities early on but failed to get on the scoreboard. The Gators stranded three runners over the first two innings while USC recorded a base hit in each of the first three innings.

Florida finally broke through in the bottom of the third as Wyatt Langford set the table with a leadoff single and advanced to second on an error. A wild pitch put Langford at third before a single by Sterlin Thompson scored him for the first run of the game.

Josh Rivera reached on an error that scored Jud Fabian to make it a 2-0 ballgame. An RBI groundout by Jac Caglianone followed to advance the lead to 3-0.

Rivera homered in the fifth after a BT Riopelle double and the Gators had all they needed with a 5-0 lead.

Jud Fabian crushed a solo homer to lead off the seventh before Deric Fabian hit an RBI double plating Riopelle to extend the advantage to 7-0.

The Gators lead increased to 8-0 in the eighth when Jud Fabian hit an RBI double to the gap in left-center to score Thompson from first.

Fabian’s homer was the twentieth of the season and allowed him to become just the second player in program history to reach twenty dingers in back to back years (Brad Wilkerson, 1997-98).

Key Performances:

  • J. Fabian: 3-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB
  • Thompson: 2-4, RBI, R, BB
  • Neely: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K

Pitching Decision:

  • W: Brandon Neely (3-1)
  • L: Noah Hall (3-5)

On Deck:

Florida and South Carolina will wrap up the regular season Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2:00 PM. Nick Pogue will get the start for the Gators.

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