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Jac Caglianone putting up staggering numbers in the CWS/NCAA Tournament

Untitled designby:Nick de la Torre06/19/24


OMAHA, Neb. — In the sixth inning on Wednesday afternoon, Jac Caglianone turned a baseball into a 110 MPH projectile. It was the 75th time he’d jogged carefree around the bases, a new career record for the Florida Gators baseball program. Caglianone is also closing in on the single-season hits record. With three more hits in the College World Series, he’ll own that record, too.

Caglianone, despite not being named a Golden Spikes Finalist, has been Florida’s best player this season and one of the best players in the entire country. Not only does he lead the Gators in every major offensive category, as well as wins as a pitcher, but he’s stepped his game up another level down the stretch when his team needed him most.

Since the NCAA Tournament started, Caglianone is hitting .438 (14-32) with 16 runs scores, 4 doubles (more than he had the entire regular season), 6 home runs, 14 RBI and has been walked a staggering 17 times with 13 of those being intentional walks. He’s also slugging 1.438 over that 10-game stretch.

In the College World Series, Caglianone is 5-8 with four runs scored, four RBI, one double, and two home runs. He’s been walked six times with three of those free passes coming intentionally.

On Wednesday, Florida manager Kevin O’Sullivan moved Jac into the leadoff spot of the lineup. Caglianone went 2-2 with three walks and stole a base for fun.

“I had an idea given the track record of the last time we played Kentucky. Sully called me last night. I kind of knew where it was going. I was all in on it,” Caglianone said. “Swiped a bag showed off the wheels, I was kind of the lead-off guy that everybody wanted me to be. I kind of embraced the role today.”

Kevin O’Sullivan on what he admires most about Caglianone

When the Gators scouted and started to recruit Caglianone, it was mostly as a pitcher. Florida signed him after Caglianone had to undergo Tommy John surgery. The plan was to have him redshirt his first season but as the Gators struggled some in 2022, the Caglianone family and O’Sullivan decided to give Caglianone a chance to hit. He immediately belted a home run against Tennessee.

While Caglianone is pulled every which way doing dozens of interviews this week and hundreds over the course of the season, he continues to shine the light back on his teammates, the coaches, and the team.

“He’s an unbelievable athlete. And I think that the thing that really sticks out to me is everything he does and says and the answers he gives is all genuine. That’s who he is,” O’Sullivan said of Cags. “Obviously we’re all extremely happy for him with how he’s performed this year. But this stuff that he says and to flex all the attention towards his teammates is what I’m most proud about.”

Everything Jac Caglianone said after Florida’s win over Kentucky

Q. Jac, first of all, congrats, record-breaking home run today. Obviously that’s a big deal. Just after the ball left your bat on that home run, just what moment do you take, whether on the field or in the dugout (indiscernible)? What moment did it hit you that you had just become the all time home run hitters?

JAC CAGLIANONE: In the dugout. Chuck gave me a hug, congratulated me, and Sully (lost audio) and stuff. And all the teammates followed. It kind of hit me there. It was really cool. In the moment I was just trying to help my team add more runs to the win.

Q. In your last meeting with Kentucky, you mentioned that you were a bit frustrated with some of the so-called mind games that they played in the dugout. Just bearing that in mind did that add any extra motivation today to bring it harder than ever before, for lack of a better word?

JAC CAGLIANONE: No extra motivation. They beat us at home in the weekend series. We knew we had to kind of get some sort of revenge, I guess. There’s no better opportunity to do it than on this stage. All the guys were pretty pumped up about it.

Q. Coach always has gone back to the Georgia series to kind of where this run has started. Any other specific moment, game that you kind of realized that this is clicking and this could be a special run?

JAC CAGLIANONE: Probably after we lost that one game at Oklahoma State. We knew there were no second chances after that.

That was probably when everybody kind of bared down and knew what we had to do just to keep our season alive and get us where we are now.

Q. Jac, what was it like hitting lead-off for, I believe, the first time in your career? Did you talk with the coaches about it and confer about it? And just your comfort level there and the decision there to have you bat lead-off?

JAC CAGLIANONE: I had an idea given the track record of the last time we played Kentucky. Sully called me last night. I kind of knew where it was going. I was all in on it.

Swiped a bag showed off the wheels, I was kind of the lead-off guy that everybody wanted me to be. I kind of embraced the role today.

Q. What’s it like being a part of this team? All of the answers that you guys have given, they’ve been humble and unselfish. There’s records being broken, individual pitching performances. It all circles back to the team. What’s it like being a part of a team like that?

JAC CAGLIANONE: Yeah, I mean, it’s everything. You know, I talked about it a little while ago. It’s why you come to Florida. You have a great group of guys. You know there’s talent top to bottom on the roster.

And honestly, like the biggest thing is just playing for each other was kind of our motto and what we’ve been running with this postseason, despite all the ups and downs of the regular season. None of that matters now. And now it just kind of falls, next game, just leads into that.

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