Photo by Michael Wade | Getty Images

Florida’s Cade Kurland came up to bat with teammate Michael Robertson on third base and two down in the top of the ninth. Kurland was already 0-4 on the day and had been mired in a post-season slump.

Kurland quickly found himself down 0-2 in the count. After fouling off a pitch, the Gators’ second baseman grounded the ball to the hole between short and third where it was fielded by TCU SS Anthony Silva, whose throw to first was not in time, allowing Robertson to score the go-ahead run.

Brandon Neely pitched a perfect ninth, but not without drama, to close out the victory. Brayden Taylor looked to have gotten ahold of Neely’s 0-2 pitch, but a remarkable catch by Robertson in center ended the ballgame to send Florida to the College World Series finals for the fourth time in program history.

How It Happened:

Josh Rivera got things started out early as he hit a two run homer to left to put the Gators on top in the first inning.

The Horned Frogs got one back in the bottom of the inning. Starting pitcher, Jac Caglianone ran into trouble in the first following a walk to Karson Bowen and a wild pitch that moved him into scoring position. The next batter, Taylor, singled to center that scored Bowen easily. TCU had an opportunity to add to it’s run total, but Caglianone struck out Silva with the bases loaded to escape the jam.

TCU also had a chance in the fourth but a perfect relay by Josh Rivera threw out Kurtis Byrne at the plate on a single by Logan Maxwell.

“Luckily I had enough time to set my feet to make a good throw home.” Rivera said of the play, “It was a tremendous tag by B.T., and it was just a great opportunity for us to get an out and not allow them to tie the game.”

After allowing a one out single in the fifth, Caglianone was pulled for Ryan Slater. Despite loading the bases with one out, Slater got out of the inning unscathed.

Slater pitched a perfect sixth inning before turning the game over to Cade Fisher. Fisher threw a perfect seventh and opened the eighth by recording a groundout before being pulled for Brandon Neely. The Florida closer allowed a one out single followed by an RBI double to even the score.

With the game tied, Tyler Shelnut led off the ninth with a double and was pinch run for by Robertson. Robertson got to third base on Colby Halter’s flyout to right to set up Kurland’s at-bat.

In total, Caglianone pitched just 4.1 innings allowing just three hits and walking three more. Additionally, he hit three batters and had two wild pitches. The Florida bullpen, though, allowed just one run in 4.2 innings of work.

Pitching Decision:

  • W: Brandon Neely (3-4)
  • L: Ben Abeldt (3-4)

Key Stats:

  • Rivera: 3-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R
  • Heyman: 2-4
  • Shelnut: 2-4, 2B
  • UF Bullpen: 4.2 IP, 3 H, ER, 4 K, BB
  • UF: 5-14 with two outs

On Deck:

Florida advances to the College World Series finals where they will face either Wake Forest or LSU in a best of three series to determine the 2023 national champion.

If LSU defeats Wake Forest, the two teams will play again tomorrow. If Wake Forest wins, they advance, as well.

Florida defeated LSU in the championship series in 2017 for their only national championship.

The championship series starts Saturday at 7:00 PM ET and will be aired on ESPN.

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