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Florida Gators will turn to Pierce Coppola on Tuesday night in the CWS

Untitled designby:Nick de la Torre06/17/24


OMAHA, Neb. — The Florida Gators lived to see another day at the College World Series thanks to a three-inning save by Brandon Neely and homers from Jac Caglianone and Tyler Shelnut. Now, they’ll turn the ball to redshirt sophomore left-hander, Pierce Coppola in game three. The Gators will play the loser of Monday night’s game between Texas A&M and Kentucky on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. ET.

“I’m sure we’re probably going to start Pierce,” Kevin O’Sullivan said after Florida’s win over NC State. Gators Online followed up with O’Sullivan after his press conference and he confirmed that.

Coppola missed his first two seasons at Florida due to injury. His freshman season he made a Sunday start on opening weekend. He threw 4.1 innings, allowed five hits, two walks, two runs and struck out seven. He returned for his sophomore season but was unable to throw due to a shoulder injury.

The Gators brought Coppola along slowly this season. He worked through a throwing program and made his first start on April 13. Coppola only lasted 1.1 innings. Coppola has been on a pitch count but he has only averaged 2.2 innings over his seven starts.

Coming out of the loser’s bracket is taxing on a pitching staff. Monday, Florida was only able to get one inning out of Caglianone but was picked up by sophomore Cade Fisher, who threw four innings in relief against NC State. The Gators used sophomore Jake Clemente and then turned to junior closer Brandon Neely to get the last nine outs of the game.

“It takes a different person to close out games. And they’re hard to find at this level, even at the big league level. But for whatever reason, he really takes to that role,” O’Sullivan said.

“And I think tonight’s win was — it had to be in everybody’s mind that there’s been, what, three walk-offs out of the four games or whatever it’s been. I’m sure that was probably somewhere in everybody’s mind watching the game. But when he went out there and attacked, got the lead-off hitter in the 2-hole and then quickly got 0-2 on their 3-hole hitter, who hit the home run early in the game, I think says a lot about his mentality.”

Gators looking for a deep start from Pierce Coppola

After Florida dropped its opening game against Texas A&M, the Gators needed to win four games in a row in order to make it back to the College World Series Final. That’s taxing on a pitching staff, especially when you only get one inning from your starting pitcher in the first of those four games.

“That’s going to be the message tomorrow. We’re going to need some help. We can’t afford, like today Cade (Fisher) helped us,” O’Sullivan said. “We needed a performance like that. And it wasn’t perfect but he gave us some innings. The same thing is going to be said tomorrow. We’re going to need some guys that haven’t pitched go out there get three or six outs for us because we can’t keep going to Brandon in the seventh inning, obviously.”

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