Jac Caglianone powers Florida baseball to Game 1 win over Clemson in NCAA Super Regional (2024)

Florida baseball moved closer to its second straight College World Series appearance with a 10-7 win over Clemson on Saturday in Game 1 of the NCAA Clemson Super Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

The Florida Gators (33-28) rallied for seven runs in the fifth inning, then held on to win their fourth straight and pull off their 18th come from behind win of the season.

Clemson (44-15) jumped to an early 3-0 lead and extended it to 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning on a solo home run by catcher Jimmy Oberton.

"The first couple of innings, I felt like we were a little bit on our heels," Florida baseball coach Kevin O'Sullivan said.

Florida began its comeback in the top of the fourth, when Tyler Shelnut belted his 15th home run of the season, a solo shot that cut Clemson's lead to 4-2 in the fourth inning. Then came the big fifth inning. Florida sent 11 batters to the plate, going ahead to stay 5-4 on a three-run homer by two-way standout Calgianone, his 32nd of the season. From there, Florida tacked on four more runs on RBI singles by Luke Heyman, Michael Robertson, an RBI squeeze bunt by Brody Donay. Another run came home on an error, when Clemson second baseman Jarren Purify threw wide of home plate on a fielder's choice.

Fisher Jameson picked up the win for Florida in relief of starter Liam Peterson, who lasted just one inning due to wildness. Brandon Neely then retired the final 12 batters for the Gators, striking out seven to pick up his fourth save of the season.

Florida needs just one more win to make it back to the College World Series in Omaha for the 14th time in school history and ninth time under O'Sullivan. Game 2 of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Here are three takeaways from the win:

Another big day at the plate for Florida baseball two-way star Jac Caglianone

Caglianone went 2 for 4 with a home run and 3 RBIs to extend his on base streak to 47 games. Facing lefty Tristan Smith, Caglianone lined a single that short-hopped the right field fence in the third inning, which moved second Cade Kurland from first and third and set up UF's first run when Kurland scored on a sacrifice fly from right fielder Ashton Wilson.

Then came the fifth inning, when, with Florida trailing 4-2, Clemson opted to have Smith pitch to Caglianone with runners on first and third and none out. Smith delivered an outside fastball and Caglianone went with the pitch, lacing it over the left field wall to give the Gators a 5-2 lead.

"He floated a slider in there, first pitch," Caglianone said. "Cranked one down there first AB of the game, first knock of the game for me at least and I knew he wasn't going to double up. He's been throwing his heater a lot this outing so I was just on time and ready for it."

In all, Florida belted three home runs in the game — a solo blast from Shelnut, three-run homer from Caglianone and solo home run from Luke Heyman in the top of the ninth, his 16th homer of the season.

Florida baseball reliever Fisher Jameson kept Florida in the game

Jameson entered the game with Florida trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning after Peterson surrendered three runs, including two on wild pitches. Peterson walked four and threw just 26 of 53 pitches for strikes.

With a runner on third and one out in the second inning, Jameson struck out Clemson third baseman Blake Wright, then got cleanup batter Cam Canarrella to fly out to left to get out of the inning.

From there, Jameson (5-0) was solid allowing three runs in four innings to pick up his fifth win of the season.

Brandon Neely delivers another clutch performance out of the bullpen for Florida baseball

Neely picked up his fourth save of the season and second of the postseason, allowing just two baserunners (one hit and one walk) in four scoreless innings. With a fastball reaching 96 miles per hour mixed in with a hard slider, Neely struck out seven of the 14 batters he faced.

O'Sullivan said he wanted lefty Cade Fisher to get through the sixth inning and for Neely to pitch the final three innings but had to call upon Neely with runners on second and third and none out in the bottom of the sixth with Florida up 9-5. Neely traded two outs for two runs, then cruised for the remainder of his outing.

"He's a unique closer in the sense you can go to him at any point," O'Sullivan said. "Kind of reminds me of Michael Byrne who we had in 2017. It wasn't ideal to bring him in in the sixth ... but just like last week against Oklahoma State we felt like this was the turning point in the game."

Neely has thrown a combined 12 scoreless innings in three postseason outings.

"Coming into Florida, I used to be a starter and this year I got some starts also," Neely said. "Being able to get the pitch count up and returning to the closer role, starting has definitely helped me, being able to go long relief and keep my wind."

Jac Caglianone powers Florida baseball to Game 1 win over Clemson in NCAA Super Regional (2024)
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