Photo by Jake Hitt | ChompTalk

After defeating Connecticut in an elimination game earlier in the day, Florida had a quick turnaround before facing Texas Tech, the team that sent them to the loser’s bracket one night earlier.

Following a 90-minute rain delay prior to the start, Florida freshman LHP Cade Fisher turned in a masterful performance in only his second career start.

Fisher led the Gators through seven scoreless innings before finally allowing a run to score in the eighth after Florida had the game in control.

“[Fisher] was outstanding… We didn’t walk anyone over the nine innings and kept pounding the strike zone,” said head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

How It Happened:

After cruising through the first five innings rapidly, the top half of the sixth lasted much longer and saw the Gators bat around and plate four runs to grab momentum.

The inning started with a single by Richie Schiekofer which was followed by a fly ball to center by Cade Kurland that was lost in the lights by Red Raiders’ CF Gage Harrelson and bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. Unfortunately, this cost Florida two runs as Kurland had already rounded second and likely would have scored easily.

What happened next was a series of blunders that could have cost the Gators. Wyatt Langford grounds into a fielder’s choice that sees Schiekofer thrown out at the plate. Langford rounds first and gets into a run down while Kurland races home. Kurland is called out on a bang-bang play at the plate while Langford ends up at second with two down.

First baseman Jac Caglianone followed with a single to right that plated Langford and put the Gators ahead 1-0. A wild pitch moved Caglianone to second and Josh Rivera singled to third base. A throwing error allowed Caglianone to come around and Florida took a 2-0 advantage. Three batter later, Tyler Shelnut singled to left with the bases loaded to score two more runs and increase the lead to 4-0.

Fisher stepped on the mound in the bottom of the eighth having already thrown ninety pitches and promptly allowed a double and a bunt single before being lifted for Brandon Neely.

The Red Raiders got one back in the eighth on a sacrifice fly, but the damage was limited and the Gators possessed a 4-1 lead entering the final inning.

Florida added three runs of insurance in the top of the ninth highlighted by a double-steal attempt that forced an errant throw into left field scored a run and a two run Langford double that put the Gators ahead 7-1.

Neely finished the game off with a strikeout of Will Burns to earn his twelfth save of the year.

Key Stats:

  • Fisher: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
  • Shelnut: 1-3, 2 RBI, BB
  • Langford: 1-5, 2B, 2 RBI, R
  • Gators: 4-7 w/ RISP

Pitching Decision:

  • W: Fisher (6-0)
  • L: Petty (3-2)
  • S: Neely (12)

On Deck:

Florida and Texas Tech will battle it out once again, this time for all the marbles. The winner will advance to Super Regionals while the loser will see their season end. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 PM Monday.

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