Gator baseball team holds off Florida A&M, 3-0 to begin NCAA regional
Florida defense comes through in the ninth, nailing two runners at the plate
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The No. 2 national seed Florida baseball team received a challenge from visiting Florida A&M to begin the NCAA tournament on Friday. The Gators survived the threat, prevailing 3-0 despite getting out-hit, 7-5. Florida (45-14) advances to face Texas Tech (40-21) in Saturday’s winners bracket game in the Gainesville Regional.
Josh Rivera opened the scoring for Florida with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, his 16th of the year to set a program record for a shortstop. Florida held a 2-0 lead until Luke Heyman provided some insurance with an RBI single in the eighth.
Jac Caglianone got the start for the Gators and tossed six scoreless innings. Caglianone (7-3) allowed four hits, struck out seven, and walked three. Twice in the game the Rattlers put two men on base with two outs, but Caglianone ended each threat with inning-ending strikeouts.
Following two more scoreless innings from Ryan Slater, Florida A&M nearly got to Brandon Neely in the ninth. With a runner on second and one out, defensive replacement Richie Schiekofer threw a runner out at home for the second out. One batter later, Rivera threw from shallow right center to nail another runner at home to end the game.
Earlier on Friday, Texas Tech defeated UConn, 3-2 to join Florida in the winners bracket. The Gators and Red Raiders meet at 6 p.m. Saturday, while the Huskies and Rattlers play an elimination contest at noon.
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