Caglianone’s walk-off blast secures series win over No.21 Mississippi State

For the second time in three games, No.6 Florida entered the bottom of the 9th trailing No.21 Mississippi State. Down by one run, Jac Caglianone launched a middle cut fastball onto the berm in right field, a two-run blast that secured Florida’s 16th straight home series win.

“Really just see the ball up,” Caglianone said on his approach during his final at bat. “He had a good change-up, a tight slider, a little ride on his heater, so you kind of had to pick one and wait for it.”

Mississippi State hadn’t thrown Caglianone many strikes all game, walking him three times including an intentional walk with nobody on base in the 5th inning. Thankfully for Florida, right-handed pitcher Evan Siary gave Caglianone the best pitch he’d seen all day on a 1-2 count and the Tampa, Florida native jumped all over it.

The Gators delivered multiple walk-off wins in a series for the first time since March 7-9, 2014 vs. Connecticut.

6-0 on Sunday’s

Jac Caglianone’s success on the mound has made it very difficult for opposing teams to win game three. Following a 4-3 victory over Mississippi State, the Gators improved to 6-0 on Sunday’s or days that Caglianone toes the rubber.

The hard throwing left hander held MSU hitless through the first four frames, striking out five batters in that span while beautifully working in his off-speed pitches to keep the Bulldogs guessing at the plate.

Caglianone started to fade in the 5th and 6th innings, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks before turning it over to Luke McNeillie with the bases loaded and two outs.

“Jac was really good on the mound,” Kevin O’Sullivan said postgame. “Obviously, five innings probably ran out of a little gas there, but competed. The continued growth that he’s been showing by pitching off the secondary pitches has been really, really good.”

In his last five starts, Caglianone has allowed five earned runs across 30 innings on 13 hits, 20 walks and 37 strikeouts. If Florida continues to get impressive outings from Caglianone, it will be tough for any opposing team to beat Florida in a series as there might not be a better Sunday starter in college baseball.

Luke McNeillie keeps Bulldogs in check

Trailing 3-1, true freshman RHP Luke McNeillie got the call from the bullpen with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the 6th.

MSU’s designated hitter Bryce Chance smashes a line drive in the right center field gap before Ty Evans makes a diving catch to end the inning, likely saving three runs while keeping the game from getting out of reach.

“That was the play of the game, if he didn’t make that we definitely would have lost that game, would have been a huge momentum crusher,” McNeillie said on Evans’ catch. “I 100 percent thought it was getting down.”

McNeillie would go on to toss 3.1 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just three total base runners while striking out three.

“What can you say about Luke? We made our mind up that if we had gotten in trouble in the sixth, and then that’s what happened, that we would go to Luke right away. You know we’d been struggling offensively, so had an idea this might be a low-scoring game, not a normal Sunday game. So, he came in, he was really good. To make a couple of those pitches to Larry, their leadoff hitter with the runners in scoring position to keep it a one run game, was huge,” O’Sullivan said postgame.

Over his last five appearances, McNeillie has fired ten innings of scoreless relief out of the Gators’ bullpen.

“You’ve kind of seen it, this is four or five outings in a row he’s pitched good,” O’Sullivan said McNeillie’s recent success. “You can’t emphasize enough the pitches that he made. I think he went 3-1 on Dakota Jordan and ended up striking him out in fastball counts.”

“Really it’s just attacking hitters, I was falling behind hitters early on and I was leaving balls up in the zone when I was getting behind,” McNeillie said on his recent approach on the mound. “It’s nice to know that the coaching staff trusts in me to keep me in that game in a big moment.”

While O’Sullivan doesn’t want to label any pitchers on the staff, Luke McNeillie may very well end up serving as Florida’s closer down the stretch.

The Gators posted their eighth come-from-behind win of the season in game three vs MSU. All six of Florida’s SEC victories have been in come-from-behind fashion.


Florida hosts Florida A&M on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+.


Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.