NCAA baseball regional preview: Jac Caglianone to start opener for UF
Florida takes on Florida A&M at 5:30 on Friday
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan threw a changeup on Thursday when deciding on a game one starter for the NCAA regionals against Florida A&M. Jac Caglianone, who normally throws third in order during a weekend series, will be on the mound Friday when the Gators (44-14) host the Rattlers (29-28).
Caglianone last appeared in Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament semifnals and went just one and two thirds innings on 59 pitches. The move allows Brandon Sproat (7-3, 4.71 ERA) or Hurston Waldrep (7-3, 4.83 ERA) to be utilized against either Texas Tech (39-21) or UConn (43-15) in the second round. Florida defeated Florida A&M, 17-7 in a regular season matchup on April 18.
Earlier on Thursday, Caglianone and teammate Wyatt Langford were both chosen as Second Team All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball. In addition to being a weekend starting pitcher, Caglianone’s 28 home runs rank second in the nation and are also a single season UF record. Langford is batting .398 with 17 homers.
For the third straight year, Florida is hosting an NCAA regional, and this time, the Gators want to avoid an early exit. The regular season Co-SEC champions last made a trip to the Super Regionals in 2018. This opportunity is why veterans like All-SEC shortstop Josh Rivera came back to school.
“It’s very special for this group of guys, especially since we’ve been through so much as a team,” said Rivera. “Coming back in a lot of games where we were down, it’s definitely stayed in the back of our minds what happened last year, it left a bad taste in our mouths.”
“I think they have to keep their emotions in check and not try to do too much,” said O’Sullivan. “Don’t think about the feeling of the loss last year to Oklahoma because that will interfere with their play.”
NCAA Baseball Gainesville Regional--Friday’s Matchups
Texas Tech vs. UConn, 12:00
Florida A&M vs. Florida, 5:30
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