UF BSB: No. 6 Gators Beat Down Dolphins in Jacksonville

Florida scored a season-high 18 runs backed by Wyatt Langford (4-for-5) and Luke Heyman (3-for-6).

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No. 6 Florida improved to 8-1 on the season with a convincing 18-8 road win over Jacksonville at John Sessions Stadium on Tuesday night.

Wyatt Langford<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/wyatt-langford/15497> (4-for-5) and Luke Heyman<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/luke-heyman/15522> (3-for-6) turned in career nights as the Gators (8-1) scored a season-high 18 runs. Langford homered while setting a career high with four hits, while Heyman registered his first-ever three-hit day and scored two runs.

After a quiet first inning, Florida struck first in the top of the second. Josh Rivera<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/josh-rivera/15504> and Richie Schiekofer<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/richie-schiekofer/15520> reached via a hit-by-pitch and fielding error in left field, allowing Heyman to make it a 1-0 ballgame with an RBI groundout to third base.

Florida and Jacksonville (5-4) exchanged zeros over the next three half innings before the Orange & Blue manufactured three more runs in the fourth. Schiekofer and Heyman reached on back-to-back singles, with the former scoring on a sacrifice bunt by Colby Halter<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/colby-halter/15495>. Heyman and Cade Kurland<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/cade-kurland/15514> later came in on Jacksonville fielding errors, extending the UF lead to 4-0.

Gators starter Ryan Slater<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/ryan-slater/15506> held Jacksonville in check across the first three innings. Making the fourth start of his career, the right-hander shut out the Dolphins through the third while striking out three.

The Dolphins eventually broke through in the fourth, using a Chandler Howard solo homer to right field to draw within three runs. Florida answered right back with a five spot in the top of the fifth, scoring on a bases-loaded walk by Halter and a grand slam home run off the bat of Kurland – his fourth of the year.

Not to be outdone by Florida’s five-run frame, the Dolphins delivered one of their own the next half inning. The big blows came from Cam Ridley and Kris Armstrong, as both players left the yard with the former connecting for a three-run shot to left.

Jac Caglianone<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/jac-caglianone/15489> stayed hot in the sixth, depositing a 1-0 offering over the left field wall for a solo homer. The Tampa, Fla. native’s seventh big fly of the campaign pushed Florida’s advantage to 10-6.

Heyman smacked a leadoff triple in the seventh, notching the first three-hit game of his young career. Although he was erased trying to score later in the inning, Florida still managed to plate two thanks to a two-run blast to left by Langford – his career-high fourth hit of the night.

Jacksonville added two runs in the seventh, with Hogan McIntosh providing an RBI double and Howard following with an RBI single to right. Rivera got both runs back for Florida in the eighth, singling to center to plate Ty Evans<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/ty-evans/15491> and BT Riopelle<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/bt-riopelle/15503>.

The Orange & Blue scored four runs in the ninth to bring the score to its final tally of 18-8. Evans started it with a sacrifice fly to left, while Riopelle singled home Langford. Caglianone and Riopelle then came in on a series of JU errors to cap off the scoring.

Florida turned to right-handed reliever Philip Abner<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/philip-abner/15488> to close out the final two innings. The southpaw struck out the first four batters he faced, finishing with six strikeouts across two shutout frames.

Slater (2-0) earned the victory, allowing one earned run across four frames. The right-hander allowed three hits and did not walk a batter while striking out four.

Jacksonville starter Bryce Fisher (0-2) was saddled with the loss, tossing 4 2/3 innings with six runs allowed (three earned). He gave up six hits while striking out five.


  *   With the win, Florida improved to 2-0 on the road this season.
  *   The Gators set a season high in runs (18) while tying their season high in hits (17).
     *   Florida last scored as many as 18 runs on May 3, 2022 vs. South Florida (18-3 win).
  *   Florida’s run differential of plus-69 is the team’s best through nine games since the 2003 season (plus-85).
  *   The Gators have scored in 47 of 72 batted innings this season (65.3%).
  *   For the eighth time in nine games this year, the Gators recorded double-digit hits.
     *   Florida has posted nine or more hits in every game this season.
     *   Tuesday represented Florida’s fourth game eclipsing 14 or more hits this year.
  *   The Gators have 119 hits through nine games (13.2 hits/game).
  *   Langford set a career high with four hits, finishing 4-for-5 with one home run, two RBI and two runs.
  *   Heyman notched three hits for the first time in his career.
  *   Making his fourth-career start, Slater earned the win by pitching four innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits and striking out four.
     *   In two appearances vs. JU, Slater has pitched a total of nine innings with one earned run allowed.
  *   Kurland continued his torrid start at the plate, going 2-for-6 with one home run, one double, four runs and four RBI.
     *   Kurland has registered at least two hits in all seven of his starts to begin his career.
     *   Kurland’s four runs scored set a new career high.
  *   The Gators improve to 66-34 all-time vs. Jacksonville including 20-6 under Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/coaches/kevin-o-sullivan/1551>.
     *   Florida rises to 23-19 against the Dolphins on the road including wins in six straight.
     *   UF has won 11 of the last 12 meetings overall heading into Wednesday’s home matchup.

On his takeaways from the win…
“We were really good offensively. Obviously, Wyatt with the four-hit night, and Luke having a three-hit night. Cade hit the big grand slam there. Offensively, really no complaints. It was a really difficult night to play defense. The wind is swirling around and we only made one error. I thought Ryan Slater<https://floridagators.com/sports/baseball/roster/ryan-slater/15506> was outstanding. Exactly what we needed. Kept his pitch count down, only gave up one run over the four and only threw 45 pitches. I thought Abner was much better at the end… The two main things of focus we talked about at the end was number one, we just got to do a better job with a runner on third base and less than two outs. We got to put the ball in play. And then the rebound runs. We scored five and then we gave up five. We scored two in the top of the seventh and then gave up two. I thought Philip did a nice job of putting some zeros on the board there at the end when we scored those six runs in the eighth and ninth, but those are two areas that we got to improve on.”

On what he saw from the pitching…
“…We didn’t walk anybody. So, credit JU, they earned everything that they got tonight. It wasn’t like we made errors. It wasn’t like we walked a bunch of guys. They just had a pretty good night offensively.

On Langford’s four-hit night…
“I think he’s really starting to settle in. I wouldn’t say he was pressing early on, just early in the year and maybe just getting pitched a little bit differently than what he was expecting. Certainly, he is seeing the ball really well.”

The Gators return home on Wednesday to host Jacksonville at 6 p.m. on SEC Network+.