Florida baseball: three things learned from UF getting swept by South Carolina
Florida baseball had a tough weekend in South Carolina, as the Gators were swept in a three-game series against the Gamecocks at Founders Park.
Florida lost 13-3 on Thursday night, then fell 5-2 on Friday and 7-5 on Saturday in the series finale.
The losses dropped the Gators (31-10, 11-7 SEC) into a third-place tie with Kentucky in the SEC East, two-and-a-half games behind division leader South Carolina.
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It was Florida's first SEC series loss of the season, and first overall since getting swept by Tennessee from April 22-24, 2022.
Here's three things learned from the sweep:
Florida's pitching remains inconsistent
The Gators were unable to handle South Carolina's lineup, surrendering 25 runs in the three-game series.
On Thursday night, ace Brandon Sproat (5-2) gave Florida a decent start, allowing 4 earned runs in 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts. But the bullpen combination of Phillip Abner, Nick Ficarrotta and Tyler Nesbitt combined to give up nine runs (5 earned) over one inning in the loss.
On Friday night, starter Hurston Waldrep (6-2) surrendered 5 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings pitched. Waldrep struck out 10 but also gave up a pair of homers to right fielder Ethan Petry and first baseman Cole Messina.
On Saturday, starter Jac Caglianone didn't make it past the third inning, allowing 4 runs in 3 innings pitched with six walks.
Wyatt Langford needs to re-emerge as a power threat
The move to the leadoff spot hasn't sparked Langford, who went 2 for 11 with 0 RBI in the series.
Langford, who missed seven games earlier this season after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured testicle, is batting .370 with 9 home runs and 23 RBI. Langford matched a school record with 26 home runs last season but hasn't homered since April 7, 2023, an eight-game drought for the slugger from Trenton. Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said earlier this month Langford was "banged up" and may be playing through another injury issue.
Caglianone belted his 23rd homer of the season during the series, but Florida needs to get Caglianone and Langford both going to get back into contention for an SEC title. Langford's on base percentage of .527 ranks second in the SEC, so he's filled a role as a table setter at the top of the lineup.
Freshman second baseman Cade Kurland wasn't intimidated on the road
Kurland was one of the few bright spots for the Gators over the weekend and showed he could handle playing in front of a hostile SEC crowd. He went 4 for 10 for the series and belted a pair of solo homers on Saturday.
For the season, Kurland is batting .331 with 12 homers and 40 RBI. The move down to sixth in the lineup has resulted in Kurland becoming more of a run producer.
The Gators host North Florida on Tuesday (6 p.m., SEC Network Plus, WRUF) to begin a four-game homestand.