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Category: Florida Gators

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UF slugger Jac Caglianone breaks Gators’ home run record

UF slugger Jac Caglianone took a unique path to the Gators’ home run record, but nothing was going to stop him during a College World Series elimination game Wednesday with Kentucky. Coach Kevin O’Sullivan had the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Caglianone bat leadoff for the first time in his career to pressure the Wildcats and force them to pitch to him. He responded with a single, followed by a stolen base — only the fourth of his career — to set the stage for the Gators’ 7-run opening inning. “I was kind of the lead-off guy that everybody wanted me to be,” he said. “I kind of embraced that role today.” Florida...

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Dan Hurley rejecting Lakers evokes memories of Billy Donovan embarrassing Magic | Commentary

Hey, at least Dan Hurley didn’t accept the Los Angeles Lakers job, waver, waffle, change his mind and back out a couple of days later. That’s what Billy Donovan did to the Orlando Magic 17 years ago when, just like Hurley, he was coming off back-to-back NCAA championships and was the most coveted coach in all of basketball. Billy D. took the Magic’s blockbuster contract offer, was introduced at a press conference and Central Florida was overtaken by Donovan delirium. “It’s exciting to get the hottest coach in America to coach our team,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, sitting front and center...

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Gators reach College World Series during 13-inning- 5-hour marathon win at Clemson

Written off weeks ago, the Florida baseball team did the improbable behind an unlikely hero to earn a shot at the sport’s ultimate prize. UF No. 9 hitter Michael Robertson’s 2-run hit into the left center-field gap propelled the unseeded Gators (34-28) to an 11-10 win Sunday night at No. 6 Clemson (44-16) to end a 5-hour, 5-minute marathon in the bottom of the 13th inning and sweep the Tigers in the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional. The unseeded Gators are headed for the College World Series for the 14th time in school history and ninth time under coach Kevin O’Sullivan. But it is the only...

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Surging Gators stun Clemson to open NCAA Super Regionals

After just slipping into the postseason, the Florida baseball team is an odds-on favorite to reach the College World Series. The Gators’ 10-7 win at Clemson to open the best-of-3 NCAA Super Regionals gives coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s surging squad an inside track the eight-team CWS. Game 1 winners have advanced since 1999’s introduction of Super Regionals. Game 2 is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Florida (33-28) overcame a 3-0 deficit Saturday after two innings and seized control with a seven-run fifth inning highlighted by a three-run home run from star slugger Jac Caglianone. “It wasn’t quite the start...

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Ashton Wilson emerges as X-factor for resurgent Gators at Super Regional

GAINESVILLE — Florida outfielder Ashton Wilson entered the Gators’ final weekend to salvage their season having done little to suggest what was to come. But Wilson ended the NCAA Stillwater Regional as its MVP, an X-factor for a resurgent team and folk hero for a frustrated fan base. Wilson’s performance at Oklahoma State came out of nowhere, but just in the nick of time. With consecutive wins while facing elimination against the host, the unseeded Gators (32-28) advanced to this weekend’s Super Regional at No. 6 Clemson (44-14) with the fewest wins of the 16 remaining teams and a realistic...

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Guard and leading scorer Walter Clayton plans to return to Gators for senior season

GAINESVILLE — Florida shooting guard Walter Clayton Jr. will return for his senior season after leading the Gators in scoring and helping them to their first NCAA tournament bid since 2021. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound combo guard explored his professional options, including a trip to the G League Elite Camp, where he averaged 15.5 points in two games. But the native of Lake Wales decided another season at UF was in his best interest. Clayton, a transfer from St. John’s University, led the Gators with an average of 17.6 points to earn All-SEC honors as Todd Golden’s squad averaged a program-record...

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Gators softball headed to WCWS after holding off Baylor behind freshman duo

GAINESVILLE — Florida softball coach Tim Walton would have preferred a Sunday off, but an extra trip to the ballpark was worth another visit to the Women’s College World Series. The Gators’ bounce-back 5-3 decision during Game 3 of their NCAA Super Regional with Baylor came on the heels of UF’s first loss in more than a month. Prior to the deciding game, Walton noticed his players had a pep in their step and pop in the bats that had been missing as Saturday’s lackluster 5-2 loss ended UF’s 12-game winning streak. “I would have loved to have won yesterday; I’d be sitting on a beach right now,”...

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College football is idiot-proof and will thrive despite having to pay players | Commentary

Will you please halt all of the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing? Cease and desist with all of the castigation and consternation. And, for the sake of the late and great Beano Cook, stop with these ridiculous doomsday scenarios that college football is circling the drain now that the NCAA and the power conferences have agreed to allow schools to directly pay players for the first time in the 155-year history of the sport. Believe me, college football will not only continue to survive, it will thrive just as it always has for one very simple reason: It’s idiot-proof. Completely and totally idiot-proof. The...

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Did Georgia’s Kirby Smart convince Jaden Rashada to sue UF’s Billy Napier? | Commentary

Running off at the typewriter. … There are some of my Gator conspiracy theorist buddies who are actually convinced that Jaden Rashada suing University of Florida football coach Billy Napier and UF’s heavyweight sugar daddy booster Hugh Hathcock for NIL fraud is all being orchestrated by Georgia coach Kirby Smart as a way to get Napier fired. Really, guys? Seriously? Personally, I think it’s just a massive coincidence that Rashada, the much-traveled California quarterback, filed the lawsuit just three weeks after transferring from Arizona State to Georgia. First and foremost, it takes more than...

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UF record-setter Jac Caglianone’s success with Gators has been a family affair

GAINESVILLE — The end of Jac Caglianone’s record-setting run is set to arrive like one of the towering lefty’s 98-mph fastballs — fast and a bit unpredictable. Perhaps the best two-year stretch in program history has been a blur for the 21-year-old two-way star and Gator Nation, led by his two biggest fans. Jeff and Johanne Caglianone have shared a front-row seat for their son’s improbable journey, rarely missing a game at home or away. “It’s really kind of surreal for us,” Jeff told the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s had success at a lot of levels, but you never envision what he’s been able to do.” UF...

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