No. 18 UF season ends after loss to No. 9 Oklahoma
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Gators owned a late lead, but on an unexpected late night at Condron Ballpark, they couldn't keep it.
Florida lost 5-4 to Oklahoma on Monday night in the Gainesville Regional championship game as its season came to an end.
Following a 5-hour, 33-minute weather delay play resumed with Florida right-hander Ryan Slater taking over on the mound. Slater struck out Kendall Pettis looking to end the inning, and the Gators added to their lead on a sacrifice fly by Ty Evans in the bottom of the seventh, making it 3-1.
However, the Sooners responded in the top of the eighth with four runs off Slater to take the lead. Wyatt Langford's 26th home run of the season - tying the single-season school record - accounted for the Gators' final run.
In a bid to advance to the Blacksburg Super Regional to face Virginia Tech, Florida turned to freshman Brandon Neely for the second time in three days to start against the Sooners. Neely lasted only 2 1/3 innings in Friday's loss to Oklahoma, but on a sun-baked afternoon at Condron Ballpark, Neely delivered a clutch outing for the Gators.
He limited the Sooners to four hits and one run over 6 2/3 innings before a weather delay ended his day with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Neely threw 88 pitches after throwing only 50 in Friday night's outing.
Freshman Jac Caglianone homered to right in the second inning off Sooners starter Trevin Michael for the game's first run. The Gators led 1-0 until the fifth when Oklahoma outfielder Kendall Pettis smashed a hanging breaking ball from Neely a solo home run to left, tying the game 1-1.
Florida regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a pair of defensive miscues by the Sooners. First, leadoff hitter Colby Halter reached on second baseman Jackson Nicklaus' error. After Wyatt Langford and Sterlin Thompson flew out, BT Riopelle singled to right-center as Halter raced to third. When Sooners right fielder John Spikerman mishandled the ball for an errors, Halter raced home with the go-ahead run.
- Florida finished the season at 42-24, winning 40-plus games for the 27th time in program history.
- Neely made Monday's start on two days' rest, pitching against Oklahoma for the second time in three days after throwing 50 pitches against the Sooners on Saturday.
- The freshman right-hander pitches six innings of one-run ball before having his outing cut short due to weather.
- Play was delayed due to weather at 3:12 p.m. and did not resume until 8:45, marking a delay of five hours and 33 minutes.
- Caglianone hit his seventh home run of the season top open a 1-0 lead for Florida in the second inning.
- Langford connected for his 26th home run of the season in the ninth inning, tying him with Matt LaPorta (2005) for the most runs in a single season in program history Florida's 122 home runs this season ranked second all-time in program history. (Record: 132 in 1998)
- Florida is now 1-2 all-time against Oklahoma.
- Florida is 119-82 in NCAA Tournament games.
- The Gators played in their 14th-consecutive NCAA Regional under O'Sullivan.
- 2022 represents Florida's 37th NCAA appearance and 18th time hosting.
- Florida finished the season winning 17 of its last 23 games and 19 of its last 26.