Gator baseball team falls in the SEC Tournament semifinals vs Vanderbilt, 11-6

BT Riopelle finished the SEC Tournament with a team high 10 runs batted in
Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) bats during an NCAA baseball game against Florida State on...
Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) bats 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. 28, 2023 at 12:01 AM EDT
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HOOVER, AL (WCJB) - On Saturday, Florida clashed with Vanderbilt for the fifth time this season. The Gators (44-14) fell into a early 10-1 hole and are eliminated from the SEC Tournament, 11-6.

The Commodores (40-18) scored six unanswered runs in the first two innings off a Jac Caglianone throwing error to third base, a wild pitch, a two-run double and a homer by Alan Espinal, 6-0.

In the top of the fourth inning, Florida put one up on the board off Cade Kurland’s 16th homer of the year, 6-1. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Vanderbilt scored four more runs to take a 10-1 lead off 11 hits.

In the top of the fifth inning, Luke Heyman fired his 11th jack of the season. Both freshmen combined for 27 home runs this season for the Gators, 6-2. Wyatt Langford followed it up with a two-run blast to left center. It was his 17th home run of the season. A few batters later, BT Riopelle hits a RBI single to center, 10-5. Riopelle finished the tournament with a team high 10 runs batted in. He breaks the tournament record held by Ben Harrison in 2002 with 9 runs batted in.

Jac Caglianone (6-3) was chased after only 1 2/3 innings and surrendered two earned runs off four hits. The Gators defense committed three errors in the loss.

Riopelle said about Caglianone’s performance, “He just wasn’t as collected as he’s been in his prior starts where he’s had a lot of success. But all we can do is just flush it. I know he’s a mentally strong kid. He’ll do that, and he’ll be ready for next weekend.”

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said, Vanderbilt, obviously, played really well and jumped out to a comfortable lead. And we uncharacteristically made three errors today, made some other mistakes that kind of put us in a tough spot early. But offensively we battled throughout the game. We always felt like we had a chance to get back into it, and I think that’s one of the biggest things we’ll take away from just this week is we have an identity now offensively, which we’ve had the entire year, but I think everybody has seen it, that we feel like we can come back, regardless of the deficit that we’re in. So all in all, it was a really good week for us. Today we’re a little disappointed, but we’ve got bigger and better things ahead of us.”

The Gators will host a regional and find out what teams they welcome to Condron Ballpark on Monday.

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