Florida Gators baseball listless in brutal 2023 College World Series final loss to LSU

By OnlyGators.com Staff
June 26, 2023
Florida Gators baseball listless in brutal 2023 College World Series final loss to LSU

Image Credit: UAA

Following a record-setting 24-4 win Sunday to even the 2023 College World Series Championship Series and put thoughts of a national title back in the heads of Florida Gators baseball, everything unraveled in Monday’s rubber match. No. 2 Florida’s pitching imploded as its bats went silent in an 18-4 loss as the No. 5 LSU Tigers claimed the seventh national championship in their program’s history.

Monday’s win was a bit of revenge for the Tigers, which fell to the Gators in the 2017 CWS Championship Series when Florida claimed its lone national title. LSU won the crown Monday for the first time since 2009 as the programs finished with identical 54-17 records on the season, marking the most wins in history for UF.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Jac Caglianone (1.1 IP, 2 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, WP, 2 HBP) was absolutely rocked starting for the Gators. He drilled the Tigers’ leadoff hitter on the first pitch of the game and was responsible for every batter plated in a six-run second inning from which UF could never recover. The dual-threat star and Golden Spikes Award finalist also went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts at the plate.

Florida looked set to continue its power-hitting ways in the bottom of the first when junior centerfielder Wyatt Langford hit a two-run homer with no outs to put the de facto home team ahead 2-0.

However, an unconscionable interference call by the home-plate umpire as junior shortstop Josh Rivera legged out a would-be single appeared to erase momentum the Gators had just gained. (Even more shockingly, the call was upheld despite a challenge by head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.) The following six-run frame for LSU extinguished that momentum completely.

Relievers did Florida no favors. In total, the Gators gave up 24 hits — breaking the CWS-record 23 hits UF smacked Sunday — and eight walks; their pitchers also hit four batters and threw three wild pitches. Florida’s lineup didn’t help much, either. The Gators went hitless for five innings as the Tigers piled up an 11-2 advantage.

Solo home runs from sophomore right fielder Ty Evans in the seventh and freshman second baseman Cade Kurland in the eighth was all Florida could muster as three of UF’s five hits came from homers. Evans’ was his third bomb in the championship series and fifth in the CWS overall.

With the loss, the Gators fell to 1-3 in four CWS Championship Series appearances, sandwiching their victory over LSU in 2017 with losses to LSU in 2023, South Carolina in 2011 and Texas in 2005.

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