Photo by James Gilbert | Getty Images

By sophomore two-way player Jac Caglianone’s standards, his weekend series versus Georgia had been a quiet one headed into Sunday’s finale. He had gone 2-8 with no RBIs, hit for no extra bases and even went 0-4 with two strikeouts in Saturday’s win.

But when he got on the mound for his Sunday start, all eyes were on him.

He took advantage, building a cushion for the Gators with his work on the mound and putting the dagger in the series with a monstrous grand slam. Caglianone became just the seventh Gator to hit 20+ homers in a single season with his third multi-homer game while starting on the mound.

Florida (30-7, 11-4 SEC) defeated Georgia (19-16, 4-11 SEC) 11-6 Sunday to secure its fifth-straight Southeastern Conference series.

The weekend series got off to a hot start as the Gators and Bulldogs combined for 24 runs in the Friday opener. Georgia came out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning before the Gators drove in five runs in the bottom third and sixth inning. UF’s offense was propelled by grand slams from freshmen Luke Heyman and Cade Kurland.

Ultimately, Florida’s bullpen couldn’t hold off a UGA offensive explosion anchored by freshman Charlie Condon’s three home runs.

Saturday’s matchup was a low-scoring affair. Junior right-hander Hurston Waldrep tossed seven innings for the Gators with only one earned run and eight strikeouts. Georgia starter Charlie Goldstein worked seven Ks in just five innings. It came down to redshirt freshman Michael Robertson’s walk-off hit in the bottom ninth to secure the win and tie the series for Florida, setting up for the Sunday afternoon rubber match.

Caglianone got the start Sunday. He opened with two quick outs before letting up infield contact against Condon. Junior infielder Colby Halter gloved the ball but the throw pulled Heyman off the bag for a UGA single. Caglianone was able to close the frame with a fly out against the next batter.

The Gators’ offense got moving in the bottom first after Caglianone reached first base on a walk. Junior shortstop Josh Rivera dug in behind him, squared up the first pitch and went yard to give Florida 2-0 lead after the opening inning.

“It was huge for us to start it really early today,” Rivera said.

The Bulldogs’ bats got going in the top of the second inning. Will David and Sebsatian Murillo doubled and walked for the ‘Dawgs between strikeouts. Florida was able to secure the final out to strand two and hand it back to the Florida bats.

Florida’s offense continued to roll in the bottom second. Kurland led off with a single and was moved to second thanks to a single from sophomore outfielder Matt Prevesk, who filled in for Ty Evans after he was pulled from Saturday’s matchup. Robertson made it back-to-back RBI singles ranging back to last night’s walk-off to make it 3-0 Florida after two.

Georgia recorded two quick outs but couldn’t escape the inning before more damage was done. Caglianone needed just one swing for a 3-run shot to the right berm to make the Gators’ lead 6-0. It marked his 20th home run of the year.

“It was great,” Caglianone said. “I knew my team needed me.”

UGA picked up its third-straight scoreless inning to open the game as Caglianone struck out the last batter with some heat to change sides in the third inning. Florida closed the opening third with its first scoreless as the Gators went 1-2-3 through the third inning.

The Bulldogs got on the board in the top of the fourth inning. Designated hitter Corey Collins went deep off a Caglianone fastball for a leadoff homer. Caglianone was able to get three outs following the score including his fourth strikeout in as many innings to close the frame.

Florida stranded two in the bottom of the fourth after Georgia looked to bullpen lefty Luke Wagner for relief.

The Gators’ fielders got caught up with some errors in the top of the fifth inning. After a Ben Anderson triple for UGA, an error on fifth-year catcher BT Riopelle allowed him to score from third. Then Kurland was unable to make a play at first, giving up the base and picking up an E4. Florida was able to secure the third out with just one run given up.

UF went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth to keep it a 6-2 lead.

Sophomore right-handed reliever Tyler Nesbitt took over on the mound for Caglianone in the top of the sixth. The Sunday ace’s final line was 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K and 91 TP.

“Cags was special today obviously on the mound,” O’Sullivan said.

Nesbitt let up a walk, single and wild pitch to put runners on second and third with no outs. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan opted to pull him for freshman releiver Cade Fisher.

Fisher was able to secure three-straight groundouts to pull the Gators out of the jam. Florida went scoreless itself to maintain a 6-2 leaded headed into the closing third.

In the top of the seventh, Fisher gave up two doubles to help score Georgia’s third run. He was pulled for fellow lefty relief pitcher Philip Abner walking another batter to put runners on the corners with two outs. He punched out the final batter to bring on the seventh-inning stretch.

Florida went 1-2-3 to close the seventh inning up 6-3.

Abner was relieved by RHP Ryan Slater after walking a batter in the eighth with one out. He walked another batter to turn the UGA order over. He gave up a single to load the bases.

Slater worked a full count and walked in a run to make it a 6-4 lead. He was pulled for closer Brandon Neely with two outs and loaded bases.

Neely punched out the last batter to close the inning up 6-4. After some celebration on his way to the dugout, Neely was ejected by home plate umpire Brian deBrauwere.

Florida took its fursturations out on offense in the bottom frame. Kurland singled to lead off, followed by a walk from pinch hitter Tyler Shelnut to put the freshman in scoring position. Robertson singled to plate Kurland and make it a 7-4 Gators lead.

After a pitching change by the ‘Dawgs, Langford was hit by the pitches. Caglianone did the heavy lifting for a grand slam and a 11-4 Florida lead. He walked to the dugout without celebration.

“It’s kind of weird we can’t have fun,” Caglianone said.

Nick Ficarrotta earned the save in the ninth for the Gators after giving up a 2-run homer, and Florida left the diamond victorious.

The Gators will host Florida A&M for a weekday matchup Tuesday. The Rattlers are 18-17 on the season but have started conference play 12-3. They secured a series sweep against Alabama A&M this weekend. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and will stream on SEC Network+.

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