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After weather postponement, Gator baseball to continue in College World Series on Wednesday

Members of the grounds crew roll out a tarp on Tuesday night in Omaha. (Ben McLeish/WUFT News)
Members of the grounds crew roll out a tarp on Tuesday night in Omaha. (Ben McLeish/WUFT News)

The Florida Gators are not coming home yet. Florida defeated No. 10 NC State 5-4 Monday to extend their season and earn a matchup with No. 2 Kentucky in another elimination game.

Since arriving in Omaha, the Gators have had to worry about much more than their opponent and gameplan. For the second time this week, weather has delayed a Gator baseball game.

Florida was originally scheduled to play Kentucky Tuesday at 7 p.m. EST. But impending thunderstorms postponed the game until Wednesday at 11 a.m. If Florida beats Kentucky, they will take on Texas A&M Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Gators’ game against Texas A&M last Saturday was also delayed over four hours due to inclement weather. They lost that game 3-2.

Against NC State, two-way star Jac Caglianone once again etched himself in the record books with a towering three-run home run. It marked his 34th of the season, which broke the Gators’ single season record that he set last year. It was Caglianone’s 74th home run as a Gator, which tied the school record set by Matt Laporta in 2007.

Caglianone will get at least one more game to break the record, which would only add to his illustrious career as a Gator. But Caglianone is more focused on winning games than setting records.

“It was a special moment for sure,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I was just too caught up in trying to win.”

Relief pitcher Brandon Neely closed the door on NC State in the final three innings, allowing Florida to cling to its one-run lead and fend off elimination. Neely credited his teammates for his dominance in the playoffs this postseason.

“You know it really comes down to team effort,” he said. “Everyone stepping together, stepping up this post season and me knowing I have one of the best defenses behind me.”

Following their loss to Texas A&M on Saturday, the Gators needed four consecutive wins to advance to the College World Series Finals. With one win under their belts, the Gators need to win three games in two days to avoid elimination.

However, the Gators have had their backs against the wall for over a month, noted Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

“When you look back at it,” he said, “to have to go on the road and win two out of three at Georgia, that’s where it started. And the guys have really fed off each other and continued to stay in the fight, and here we are.”

The Gators have thrived this year under pressure. But they will need to continue their improbable run for three more games to advance to give themselves a shot at the national championship.

Benjamin is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.