Fabian, Sproat lead Gators in shutout of Commodores
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 7 Florida run-ruled No. 5 Vanderbilt in seven innings with a 10-0 victory backed by 13 hits to take game one in front of 6,970 fans at Condron Family Ballpark on Friday night.
Making his first SEC start of the season, Deric Fabian paced the Gators offense in the premiere. Fabian drove in a career-high four runs, finishing 2-for-3 with one home run. Tyler Shelnut (2-for-4) swatted a pair of doubles and scored two runs while Cade Kurland (3-for-3) reached base in all five plate appearances for the first time in his career.
Starter Brandon Sproat blanked the Commodores (35-14, 17-8 SEC) through the first two frames, opening the door for the Gators (38-12, 16-9 SEC) to edge in front in the bottom of the second. After a leadoff double to right-center by Shelnut, Fabian uncorked a two-run homer to left-center field. Wyatt Langford then doubled home Kurland to open a 3-0 Gator lead.
Fabian struck again in the third to extend Florida's advantage to 5-0. Luke Heyman and Shelnut reached via a single and double, with Fabian driving both runners home on a clutch, two-out single to left-center.
The Gators scored for the third-straight inning in the fourth, beginning with a sacrifice fly to right field by Jac Caglianone - his 70th RBI of the campaign. BT Riopelle followed with a two-run homer to left field to extend the score to 8-0.
Sproat shut down the Dores through the sixth, finishing with six scoreless innings and five strikeouts. Freshman Cade Fisher took over for Sproat in the seventh and stranded a pair to hold the score.
In the bottom of the seventh, Florida loaded up the bases for Caglianone on a trio of walks. On the first pitch of the at bat, Caglianone smacked a single down the left-field line to plate Kurland and Michael Robertson, effectively ending the game at 10-0 via the run rule.
Sproat (7-2) earned the victory thanks to six shutout innings with five hits allowed and three walks. The right-hander struck out five.
Vanderbilt starting pitcher Patrick Reilly (3-2) was saddled with the loss after forfeiting eight earned runs across four innings. He allowed 10 hits and three walks while fanning five.
- The Gators posted their largest victory over Vanderbilt since April 15, 2017 (20-8). The win marked the largest margin of victory in the series by either team since Vanderbilt's 15-2 win on March 22, 2019.
- Florida won its 10th game via the run rule this season.
- The Gators surpassed their SEC win total from last season (15), improving to 16-9 in conference play.
- Making his first SEC start of the season, Fabian homered to left-center in his first at bat. Fabian finished with a career-high four RBI en route to a 2-for-3 night.
- Caglianone drove in his 70th run of the season with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, becoming the first Gator to drive in 70 runs in a season since JJ Schwarz in 2015.
- Sproat improved to 12-2 across his last 19 starts dating back to last season. Florida is 16-3 in those 19 starts.
- Florida has struck out 514 batters in 424 innings - translating to 10.9 per nine innings.
- The Gators have 508 hits through 50 games (10.2 hits/game).
- The Gators have scored in 47.0% of batted innings (188 of 400).
- Florida is now 144-78-1 all-time vs. Vanderbilt including 82-24 at home. The Gators are 31-20 in the series under Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan featuring a 17-5 mark in Gainesville.
FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O'SULLIVAN
On the pitching in game one...
"I think Brandon kept his emotions in check. Obviously, it was a big strikeout there to end the first. But he's been really good. He's been really good the second half of the year. I know there's been a few starts where he probably wishes he could do over, but all in all, he's set the tone for us for the most part of the season, and had a really good night tonight. And Cade (Fisher) coming in, did a nice job there in the seventh. It was important to hopefully score those two runs in the seventh, because now he only threw 19 pitches. We want to be careful so we use our bullpen in a way so that there isn't anyone unavailable tomorrow."
On Fabian's performance...
"I'm not going to say I called it, but I did. I talked to Chuck (Jeroloman) last night and the thing about Deric is, obviously he's been disappointed he probably hadn't played as much as he'd like to, and he played a lot more last year. But the one thing he has not done, he has not put his head down. He's always been a good teammate. And I can't tell you how many extra reps he's done before and after practice to put himself in that position to have a game like this. And I just felt like, there was a feeling that something good was going to happen for him tonight. Luckily for us, it did."
On the value of production off the bench...
"I think we've talked about it the entire year, the depth of our lineup. Knock on wood, we've been really healthy up until Josh slid into second last Sunday. Shelnut, he had the big double there. Obviously, Deric followed up with the home run and then had the two-out RBI to pick us up there, too. I think in order to win at the highest level, you got to be good in all three-phases: offensively, pitching-wise and the pen, which I think we've figured out, and you got to play good defense. Tonight was probably one of the most complete games we've played all year long."
Florida and Vanderbilt meet again in game two on Saturday with coverage on SEC Network+ at 6:30 p.m. Right-hander Hurston Waldrep (6-3, 5.07 ERA) gets the nod for the Orange & Blue while southpaw Devin Futrell (6-2, 2.42 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Dores.