Gator baseball team earns sixth straight series win at Kentucky, 5-2; crowned co-SEC champions

Jac Caglianone wins his sixth game on the mound pitching seven innings and rang up eight batters
Florida catcher Luke Heyman (28) runs to first during an NCAA baseball game against Florida...
Florida catcher Luke Heyman (28) runs to first during an NCAA baseball game against Florida State on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)(Gary McCullough | AP)
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 7:26 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, KY. (WCJB) - The Florida baseball team still remains in the running for the top seed in the SEC standings with Arkansas and Vanderbilt. Florida finished off the regular season with a exclamation point as they win their sixth straight series against No. 19 Kentucky, 5-2.

Jac Caglianone (6-2) chalked up back-to-back wins on the mound as he silenced the Wildcats (36-17) offense for a career-high seven shutout innings only giving up four hits and retired eight batters in the victory.

The Gators (42-13) offense awakened in the top of the seventh inning as BT Riopelle brought home Caglianone off a sacrifice fly to left field to take a 1-0 lead. Luke Heyman followed it up with a RBI single to center field, 2-0. Next batter is Dale Thomas who comes in to pinch hit for Colby Halter with a runner on. Thomas ends the regular season with his first home run of the year, a shot to right field to increase the lead, 4-0.

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan on Thomas’ homer, “Yeah, that’s another good story. He’s a great teammate. He’s on every pitch of the game from start to finish. Once again, he’s a hard worker and once he got the opportunity, he certainly delivered.”

Philip Abner came in relief for Caglianone and gave up a lead off homer to Kentucky’s Grant Smith. However, it was his only blemish as he shuts down the rally with a strike out and a ground out.

Gators are crowned co-SEC Champions

After finishing with 42 regular season wins and handled their business with No. 19 Kentucky. No. 4 Florida was announced as co-SEC champions with the University of Arkansas. Coming into today, Arkansas held a half-game lead on the Gators. However. the Razorbacks dropped the series to Vanderbilt, 7-6. It opened the door for the Gators as the holders of the number one seed.

O’Sullivan said about the players’ mindset today, “When we got off the bus last night, my message was to them, tomorrow is going to be extremely difficult. We can’t control what the other teams are going to do as far as us having a chance to win the SEC Championship. The goal today was to come in and win a series and to get some momentum going into Hoover. We’ll watch the scores and see what happens, but I’m awfully proud of this group and what they’ve accomplished this year.”

Florida received a first-round bye as the top seed. The Gators will play the winner of Alabama/Kentucky on Wednesday night at 5:30pm ET in Hoover, Alabama.

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