Photo by Jake Hitt | ChompTalk

Florida’s star players put on a show when it was needed the most as the Gators staved off elimination by defeating Connecticut 8-2 Sunday afternoon.

The Gators will have little time to celebrate as they will face Texas Tech at 6:00 PM with another opportunity to avoid a regionals exit.

Florida starting pitcher Hurston Waldrep was spectacular, striking out twelve in seven innings of work. In total, he threw 101 pitches and 69 strikes before turning it over to Nick Ficarrotta to close out the final two innings.

As for the offense, Jac Caglianone played catalyst with two homers and five RBI.

How It Happened:

The Gators got on the scoreboard in the second inning. Luke Heyman led off with a double while Colby Halter was hit by a pitch. Back to back walks by Cade Kurland and Wyatt Langford put the Gators ahead 1-0.

UConn struck back in the top of the third to even things up but a pair of Waldrep strikeouts ended the threat.

Florida added a four-spot to the linescore in the bottom of the fourth on a Langford sacrifice and a three-run homer by Jac Caglianone. The blast was Caglianone’s thirtieth of the season, making him just the third SEC player to reach that mark and first since 2000. More importantly, the Gators took a 5-1 lead with the homer.

The Gators added to the advantage the following inning on a RBI single from Ty Evans.

Waldrep continued to keep the Huskies at bay and in the sixth inning escaped a two-on, no out jam with three straight strikeouts.

UConn got one back in the top of the eighth as they recorded three singles but were ultimately limited to just a single run by Ficarrotta.

The Gators, however, responded in a big way in the bottom of the inning. Caglianone hit his nation-leading 31st homer to the Florida bullpen in right to increase the lead to 8-2.

Ficarrotta stuck out the side in order in the ninth to clinch the victory.

Key Stats:

  • Waldrep: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
  • Caglianone: 2-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, HBP
  • Shelnut: 2-3, 2B, R
  • Gators: 3-9 w/ RISP

On Deck:

With Florida having burned their three weekend starters, Kevin O’Sullivan will need to make a decision on who to start against Texas Tech.

*O’Sullivan announced Cade Fisher as the starter after publication.

Florida and the Red Raiders will meet at 6:00 PM.

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