Florida and Nebraska squared off Friday in the Stillwater Regional with all eyes on the power of the Gators. While pitching has been a question mark for the program, Florida has a deep lineup of power hitters led by Jac Caglianone.

It did not take long for Florida’s bats to make an appearance. On the 3rd pitch of the game, Cade Kurland drilled an 0-2 pitch for a leadoff home run and quick lead for the Gators.

Nebraska would immediately answer back with an RBI single from Gabe Swansen tying the score in the bottom of the 1st inning. After a 2-run double by Ashton Wilson gave Florida a 3-1 lead in the top of the 3rd inning, it was Swansen who would cut into that deficit in the bottom of the 6th.

He drilled a tape-measure blast to left field to make the score 3-2 and keep the pressure on the Gators:

Florida would scrape 1 run across in the top of the 8th inning to make it 4-2, and a dramatic bottom of the 8th led to some tense moments. Nebraska loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk with 1 out. Brandon Neely would not buckle, getting a fly out to center field and striking out Dylan Carey on 3 pitches to end the threat.

In the top of the 9th, Florida’s Wilson would continue his hot start to the Stillwater Regional. He drilled his first career home run for a key insurance run to cap a 4-for-5 afternoon with 3 doubles and a solo home run.

Nebraska would threaten with a runner on base in the bottom of the 9th, but a double play would end the game with a 5-2 final score and send the Gators to the winner’s bracket and the Huskers into an elimination game.

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Florida will advance into a Saturday night game at 7 pm ET to face the winner of Oklahoma State vs. Niagara. Meanwhile, Nebraska will play an elimination game on Saturday at 2 pm ET against the loser of Friday’s OSU vs. Niagara matchup.

Keys to the game

True to form, Florida’s bats came alive, albeit Wilson’s 4 extra-base hits were a bit of a surprise. The Gators produced 5 doubles and 7 extra-base hits in the win. Caglianone had just 1 hit on the afternoon (a double), but he did register 3 walks as the Huskers tried to avoid his big bat.

The key for the Gators came on the mound where they have struggled this season. Liam Peterson posted a 5.83 ERA across 14 appearances (12 starts) this season, but he was largely lights-out against Nebraska.

Peterson went 5.1 innings and allowed just 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks to pace the Gators. Fisher Jameson and Neely would cover the final 3.2 innings out of the bullpen, scattering 4 hits and a walk in scoreless relief.

On the flip side, Nebraska starter Brett Sears did a good job working around 10 Florida hits to allow just 3 earned runs in 5 innings. Unfortunately, the bats went quiet, save for a 2-for-3 effort by Swansen. As a team, the Huskers were just 8-for-33 and the line drops to 6-for-30 without Swansen’s numbers accounted for.

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