No. 2 Florida Gators baseball advance to first Super Regional since 2018 after three-game rally

By Staff
June 5, 2023
No. 2 Florida Gators baseball advance to first Super Regional since 2018 after three-game rally

Image Credit: UAA

Despite entering as the No. 2 overall seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, the Florida Gators were not playing their best baseball as postseason competition began. That less-than-stellar play continued over the first two days of the Gainesville Regional at Condron Family Ballpark only for Florida to completely reverse its fortunes with a supreme offensive output fueling the program to its first Super Regional since 2018.

After outscoring its opponents 15-3 in a pair of Sunday elimination games, the Gators continued their hot hitting in a 6-0 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Monday’s regional final. Texas Tech, which beat Florida to send it into the loser’s bracket in its own regional, was outscored 13-1 in two chances to advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament.

Senior catcher BT Riopelle, the breakout star of the SEC Tournament who was 0-for-15 at the plate in regional play, smacked a pair of two-run home runs to propel the Gators ahead of the Red Raiders. Florida’s strong offensive output was supported by redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Slater, who tossed five scoreless innings as the game’s starter.

Sophomore first baseman Jac Caglianone, UF’s single-season home run king, was held silent Monday after blasting his 30th and 31st homers Sunday, becoming the NCAA Division I leader this season. His 84 RBI put him one behind Preston Tucker for most in a single season at Florida.

The Gators’ starting pitching carried as much weight as their hitting over the last two days with Slater, freshman left-hander Cade Fisher and junior right-hander Hurston Waldrep combining to allow just two earned runs in three games. The trio combined for 19 strikeouts with Waldrep (12) doing the heavy lifting.

Florida’s Super Regional appearance will be its first since 2018, the year after head coach Kevin O’Sullivan led the program to its only national championship. The Gators are 7-0 in Super Regional play since 2010 — all hosted in Gainesville, Florida. They are 8-1 all-time hosting a Super Regional and 8-2 overall in the tournament round since the format was changed in 1999.

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