The word is out or at least it should be. When pitching to the Florida Gators you should not throw Wyatt Langford anything within fifteen feet of the plate. For the second game in a row, Langford jumped on the first pitch he saw and sent it to the batter’s eye for a leadoff home run.
The only person or team hotter than the Gators is Langford. The sophomore outfielder has four home runs in the last two games. The multi-homer performance Thursday marked Langford’s second-straight game with two big flies, and his third multi-home run game of the season. In the last 13 games he’s 24-for-51 (.471) with 8 homers, 13 RBI, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 11 walks, 24 runs scored, and boasts a .597 OBP. He would hit another home run in the eighth inning, as the Gators throttled South Carolina 14-5.
“I don’t know if I have quite seen anything like this to be completely honest. We’ve had some really good players and I hate naming names because we have had so many good players come through here during my tenure. It is just remarkable,” Kevin O’Sullivan said of Langford. “He is seeing the ball really well and he’s got the flair for the dramatic. If I try to explain or try to put into words what we are witnessing right now, I would not be able to do it any justice.”
Back and forth game
Brandon Sproat earned the start for the Gators (34-19, 14-14 SEC). The junior didn’t have his best stuff but continued to battle. Sproat worked around a walk in the top of the first to post a zero. Langford put the Gators up with his 20th home run of the 2022 season and Sproat erased another walk with a double play to end the second.
The third inning brought trouble. Sproat plunked Colin Burgess to start the frame. A sacrifice bunt and a fly out gave the righty two outs but Sproat loaded the bases by hitting another batter and walking one. Ocala native, Andrew Eyster gave the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead with a double to left field. Sterlin Thompson and Jud Fabian started the bottom half of the frame with doubles, the latter scoring Thompson to tie the game.
It was all Florida after that. Ty Evans homered in the fourth inning to give the Gators and Thompson had a sacrifice fly later in the inning to make it 4-2. South Carolina tied it at four in the fifth but Florida’s offense was too much.
Jac Caglianone sigled home BT Riopelle to make it 5-4. Evans and Kris Armstrong then drove in runs with sacrifice flies to center field, extending the Florida lead to 7-4.
Sproat exited with one out in the seventh, as southpaw Philip Abner came on to get a lefty out. He did his job before giving way to Blake Purnell, who got out of the seventh.
Caglianone connected on a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh and Langford drilled a solo home run in the eighth inning. The 21st home run of his season tied him with Jonathan India (2018) for the fifth-most in a single season.
Florida tacked on five runs in the eighth inning to add to the 14-5 final.
Gators hit the century mark
The Gators blasted four home runs against South Carolina on Thursday night. That gave the team 100 on the season. That matched the 2018 team for the most a team has hit in a single season during the O’Sullivan era.