Florida baseball: 3 takeaways from Friday night's 10-0 win against Vanderbilt

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun
Florida's utility Jac Caglianone (14) celebrates his walk-off in the bottom of the seventh against Vanderbilt, Friday, May 12, 2023, at Condron Family Ballpark, in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators beat the Commodores 10-0 in Game 1 of the weekend series. [Cyndi Chambers/ Gainesville Sun] 2023

Florida began a critical baseball series with Vanderbilt Friday night with an offensive onslaught, beating the Commodores 10-0 in 7 innings before 6,970 at Condron Family Ballpark.

First baseman Jac Caglianone delivered the walk-off hit, a two-RBI single with the bases loaded that scored Michael Robertson and Cade Kurland, who had both walked. With the win. the Gators (38-12, 16-9 SEC) moved a game behind Vanderbilt (35-14, 17-8 SEC) for first place in the SEC East in the first of the three-games series.

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The Gators jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning on two-run homer by shortstop Deric Fabian and RBI double by left fielder Wyatt Langford and didn't let up. Florida scored two more runs in the third on a two-RBI single by Fabian, and three runs in the fourth on Caglianone sac fly and two-run homer from catcher B.T. Riopelle to go up 8-0.

"In order to win at the highest level, you've got to be good in all three phases," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "Offensively, pitching-wise, which I think we've figured out, and you've got to play good defense. Tonight was probably one of the most complete games we've played all year long."

Here are three takeaways from the win:

Deric Fabian delivers as last-minute replacement

Fabian was penciled into the lineup as a last-minute replacement for shortstop Josh Rivera, who suffered a head injury in the prior series against Texas A&M. He didn't know he was starting until right before batting practice on Friday afternoon.

In Fabian's first at-bat in the second, he lined a fastball from Vanderbilt starter Patrick Reilly over the left field fence to give the Gators an early 2-0 lead. It was his second homer of the season. In the third inning, Fabian came up with a big two-out hit, lacing a cutter from Reilly to extend UF's lead to 5-0.

"Obviously it's tough not playing every day," Fabian said. "It's hard to stay locked in mentally but it's something you have to do if you're in the role I'm in. But, obviously, if I can help the team in any way, that's all I care about."

Rivera will undergo more tests to see if he's available for the second game of the series on Saturday. If so, O'Sullivan could still potentially find a spot for the right-handed hitting Fabian in the outfield or at third base, depending on matchups.

"We'll figure it out," O'Sullivan said. "We still have to figure out what Josh is going to be able to do tomorrow. He has tests tomorrow. Hopefully he does OK on it and he's cleared to play."

Brandon Sproat works through trouble in six shutout innings

Sproat (7-2) pitched six shutout innings, allowing five hits, three walks and one hit batter. He left eight runners on base.

In the top of the first, Sproat had two runners on after a walk and infield single, but he struck out first baseman Parker Noland to get out of the jam.

"Throwing up a zero there, after getting two on, it's big, keep the momentum going," Sproat said. "But I didn't think anything of it, just keep pounding the strike zone, see what happens."

Of Sproat's 97 pitches, 59 were for strikes.

"Brandon kept his emotions in check," O'Sullivan said. "I thought it was a big strikeout there to end the first. But he's been good. He's been really good the second half of the year. I know there's been a few starts where he probably wishes he could do over. But all in all he's set the tone for us."

Cade Kurland provides spark at top of the order

Kurland went 3-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored and a stolen base, continuing his stellar freshman season. He entered Friday night batting .311 while playing steady second base as an 18-year-old early enrollee.

"I would not be telling you the truth if I saw this coming," O'Sullivan said. "Obviously when he came in early, there are no expectations because you don't know but what he's been able to do ...

"The line drive he hit the other way the second to last at-bat ... if you watch him in the cage he never gets out of his approach. He goes right back up through the middle, right center field, left center field. He doesn't try to get big. He knows who he is, which is not easy to do for a kid that young."

Up next

The Gators will continue their three-game set with Vanderbilt on Saturday at Condron Family Ballpark (6:30 p.m., WRUF AM 850, SEC Network Plus). RHP Hurston Waldrep (6-3, 5.07 ERA) will start for the Gators against Vanderbilt LHP Devin Futrell (6-2, 2.42 ERA).