Florida baseball: 3 takeaways from Sunday's 6-2 win vs. Vanderbilt

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun
Florida's Jac Caglianone (14) gets a standing ovation from the fans as he heads back to the dugout in the top of the sixth inning against Vanderbilt in Game 3 of the weekend series, Sunday, May 14, 2023, at Condron Family Ballpark, in Gainesville, Florida. Caglianone pitched 6.2 innings and struck out nine in his outing against the Commodores. The Gators beat Vanderbilt 6-2. [Cyndi Chambers/ Gainesville Sun] 2023

Behind a stellar start from sophomore lefty Jac Caglianone and two home runs from Wyatt Langford, Florida completed a three-game sweep of Vanderbilt with a 6-2 win over the Commodores on Sunday before 5,712 at Condron Family Ballpark.

The Gators (40-12, 18-9 SEC) moved into first place in the SEC East with its third straight win over the Commodores (35-16, 17-10). Florida remains a game behind Arkansas (19-8) in the overall SEC title hunt after the Razorbacks beat South Carolina 5-1 on Sunday.

"I don't care who you sweep, but obviously, that team in the other dugout is pretty darn good," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "They swing the bats and we did a good job this weekend pitching-wise ... just one of those weekends. We've been on the other side of that too. Sometimes it's not who you play but when you play them."

Langford's first homer, a two-run shot, gave the Gators a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Gators added another run in the first on an RBI groundout by Luke Heyman.

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Florida tacked on runs in the fourth, fifth in seven innings. That was more than enough support for Caglianone, who turned in his best start of the season. Caglianone matched his career-high in innings pitched (6.2) and strikeouts (9), allowing just one run on one hit.

Before the game, Florida honored seniors Nick Ficarotta (P), Tyler Nesbitt (P). BT Rioplle (C). Josh Rivera (SS), Richie Schiekofer (OF), Brandon Sproat (P) and Tucker Talbott (OF) in its home finale during Senior Day Ceremonies. Florida, though, will likely be back at Condron Family Ballpark hosting an NCAA Regional in the first weekend of June.

Here are three takeaways from the win:

Jac Caglianone maintains command

Caglianone (5-2) lasted deep into the game because he kept the ball in the strike zone. Of his 103 pitches, 71 were for strikes.

Caglianone entered Sunday's start with 40 walks in 47.2 innings pitched. He mixed in his curveball and cutter effectively while maintaining 95 miles per hour on his fastball with command of all three pitches.

"His ability to move on from pitch to pitch, hitter to hitter, that's the biggest thing," O'Sullivan said. "The only mechanical adjustment we made was shortening up his leg lift considerably in the stretch and it's tightened up his delivery a little bit."

Caglianone cruised through the middle innings, retiring 11 straight batters before hitting Vanderbilt designated hitter Chris Maldonado with one out in the seventh inning.

"Once I got past the fourth, I was like, alright, let's see how far I can take this," Caglianone said. "It felt like you ran through a wall and it was kind of like a reset, a fresh new ballgame, so that was nice."

Wyatt Langford has found his swing

Langford went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs and two runs scored, powering UF's offense. After crushing a 3-1 fastball from Vanderbilt starter Greyson Carter for a two-run homer in the first, Langford added an RBI double in the fourth inning and opposite field home run in the seventh for his seventh career multihomer game.

"I just felt good out there and I was ready to hit," Langford said.

After sitting out two weeks with a midseason injury, Langford has regrouped. He's batting a team high .400 with 14 home runs and 37 RBIs.

"It's always a grind playing all these games, back-to-back," Langford said. "But right now I feel great, I feel as good as I have all season so I'm excited."

Another good day in the field

Florida played an error-less game in support of Caglianone and closer Brandon Neely, who allowed one run over 2.1 innings left to finish the game off.

In the top of the ninth inning, Florida robbed Vanderbilt of a pair of hits -- with third baseman Deric Fabian fielding a sharp grounder from Maldonado for the first out and Langford making a running over the shoulder catch on a fly ball by Vanderbilt first baseman Parker Noland.

"Wyatt Langford was unbelievable," O'Sullivan said. "That play he made in left field last night and then tonight, and that play Deric made at third to lead off the top of the ninth was a heckuva play."

Up next

Florida will begin its final regular season three-game SEC series Thursday night at Kentucky (6:30 p.m., SEC Network Plus)