In front of an electric crowd of 8,439, the Florida Gators proved resilient in battling back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to defeat South Carolina 5-4 in game one of the Gainesville Super Regional.
The Gators are now one win from advancing to the College World Series for the first time since 2018.
Despite a rough beginning to his start Friday, Brandon Sproat battled through six innings and completed the quality start alby allowing just three runs.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan then went to freshman Cade Fisher who turned in a solid two innings before allowing Brandon Neely to close things out for his thirteenth save of the year.
How It Happened:
South Carolina leadoff hitter Will McGillis put the Gamecocks ahead early as he crushed the second pitch he saw beyond the left field berm. Five batter later, USC added to its lead on an RBI single by Gavin Casas.
Florida’s response was immediate. A two out single by Jac Caglianone brought up SS Josh Rivera who crushed a 2-0 pitch beyond the berm in left field to even the score.
The Gamecocks answered with a run in the top of the second but left runs on the board thanks to a 1-2-3 double play by the Florida defense.
In the fifth, the Gators again evened the score on Tyler Shelnut’s seventh homer of the year, a bomb that also cleared the berm in left.
An inning later, BT Riopelle crushed a solo shot to the batter’s eye in center to put the Gators ahead 4-3. For the Gators backstop, it was his sixth homer of the postseason.
Shelnut added an important insurance run with an RBI single that plated Rivera to put Florida up by two heading into the ninth.
Neely came on to close it out in the ninth and promptly struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up McGillis’ second homer of the contest.
- Shelnut: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, R
- Kurland: 2-4
- Heyman: 2-4
- Halter: 2-4, 2B
- Sproat: 6 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 7 K, 2 BB
Florida and South Carolina will continue the series Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 3:00 PM.