Brody Donay powers Gators past Florida A&M

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Brody Donay had a breakout performance when Florida needed it most on Tuesday night against Florida A&M.

Donay, who was Florida’s designated hitter and batted eighth in the lineup, blasted two home runs, including a go-ahead three-run home run, to power the Gators past the Rattlers, 10-7, at Condron Ballpark.

Brody Donay Head Shot Florida Gators
Photo of Brody Donay courtesy Florida athletics.

The victory snapped No. 6 Florida’s four-game losing streak in midweek games and improved its record to 4-5 in midweek contests this season.

“It felt really good. It’s something I needed, and hopefully we can keep moving forward,” Donay said.

Donay, a transfer from Virginia Tech, was hitting .209 with two home runs and five RBIs in 14 games before Tuesday night. The sophomore carried the Gators’ offense, starting in the third inning.

The Gators trailed 6-4 in the third inning when Donay launched his first home run of the contest into left-center field. The three-run homer put the Gators ahead 7-6, and they never trailed again.

Donay extended Florida’s lead in the eighth inning. After Colby Shelton and Jac Caglianone hit solo home runs in the fourth and seventh innings, respectively, Donay sent his second home run over the right-center field wall on a full count to give the Gators a three-run advantage.

Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan raved about Donay’s performance and his team-first mindset, especially as Donay has worked to overcome his slow start to this season.

“(Donay has) been great. He’s been working his tail off,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s been a great teammate and it’s not easy to do.”

While Donay played a pivotal role in Tuesday’s victory, he made it clear that he is still a team-first player, emphasizing the importance of “wrapping yourself up in the team.”

“The whole team has the same goal. We want to get to Omaha (for the College World Series),” he said. “Just got to root for your teammates and hope for the best.”

The Rattlers (12-17) began the night with a bang, as third baseman Adam Haidermota launched a three-run home run to left field.

The Gators (17-11) responded quickly with a three-run home run of their own by Cade Kurland, tying the game at 3-3 after the first inning.

The Rattlers did not back down. They added another two runs to their total in the second inning on a single by catcher Broedy Poppell. They added another run in the third to bring their lead back up to three.

Trailing 6-3, the Gators manufactured four runs in the third inning to take the lead and then never looked back. Caglianone started the rally by scoring on a wild pitch. After Florida A&M hit back-to-back batters, Donay stepped to the plate and delivered the go-ahead three-run home run.

After the third inning, the Gators outscored the Rattlers 3-1 the remainder of the game to avoid the upset. It marked the Gators’ ninth come-from-behind victory of the season.

“That wasn’t the start that we wanted but credit Cade (Kurland) for hitting a three-run homer in the first, kind of getting us right back there,” O’Sullivan said. “And then obviously, Brody Donay had a really good day at the plate with two home runs and four RBIs.”

The Gators look ahead to the weekend when they take on Missouri in a three-game road series, beginning at 7 p.m. ET Friday in Columbia, Missouri.

Ava Baccari
Ava Baccari
Ava Baccari is a junior undergraduate student at the University of Florida. She is majoring in Journalism with a specialization in Sports and Media. Follow her on X (Twitter) @avabsports.

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