NCAA Baseball News

Florida baseball walks it off to take series from Mississippi State

Florida baseball walks it off to take series from Mississippi State

Florida only managed four hits agaisnt Mississippi State on Sunday, but the Gators made them all count, winning, 4-3, on a two-run, walk-off home run from Jac Caglianone.

The comeback started with Ty Evans taking a ball to the elbow, but it set up a walk-off opportunity for the Gators’ most dangerous bat, and Cags did not miss his pitch. He crushed a ball over the right field wall for his team-leading 13th home run of the season and Florida’s 16th win of the year.

“There’s no better way to start Easter man,” Caglianone said. “The whole thing for me was move the ball and get Ty into scoring position… it just turned out that way.”

Another solid outing

Caglianone also started on the mound for Florida, as he does every Sunday. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth but a hustle double from Connor Hujsak to lead off the inning set up the first run of the game.

More trouble came in the sixth for Caglianone. He walked four batters, one with the bases loaded, and got the hook in favor of Luke McNeillie. Caglianone said that he wasn’t happy with the way things ended on the mound, but it was his job to make up for it at the plate.

The freshman is settling in

McNeillie was tabbed as the fourth starter in the rotation to start the season, but he struggled during the midweek and moved to a bullpen role where he has shined.

He’s thrown 10 innings across five appearances without giving up a run, including 3 1/3 frames today. McNeillie has struck out 14 batters over that stretch compared to just four walks.

One aspect of it is that McNeillie can let loose as a reliever, even if he’s expected to throw multiple innings. As a starter, pitchers typically ramp up their velocity over five or more innings, but relievers can come out throwing as hard as they can. McNeillie touched 97 mph with his fastball today, punching out the best bat in MSU’s lineup.

Another series win for Florida

The Gators have yet to lose a series in SEC play, which bodes well for tournament play, but there are obvious depth issues in Gainesville. Also, both of these wins required walk-offs — not just comebacks — to win.

Florida is back at Condron Family Ballpark on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET to host Florida A&M. Then, the Gators hit the road for another SEC series, but it’s against the worst team in the league, Missouri.

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