Jac Caglianone hits record home run in Florida’s victory

OMAHA, Neb. – Jac Caglianone is an extraordinary player who consistently delivers remarkable performances.

Even though he didn’t have his best stuff on the mound on Monday, Caglianone still made an impact at the plate, proving his versatility and invaluable presence on the team.

Caglianone laced a line drive over the right-center field fence for a three-run home run in the second inning of Flordia’s 5-4 victory over North Carolina State in an elimination game in the College World Series at Charles Schwab Field.

Caglianone became the first pitcher to hit a home run in a College World Series game since Tim Hudson accomplished the feat for Auburn in 1997.

“I didn’t even know that, to be honest with you,” Caglianone said. “That’s pretty cool. Definitely something I don’t take for granted at all. That’s sweet.”

Caglianone is the top two-way player in the country. On Monday, the junior left-handed pitcher started on the mound and served as the designed hitter, batting in the No. 2 spot in Florida’s lineup.

Caglianone didn’t have his best stuff on the mound, however. He lasted one inning, allowing one run with one strikeout and two walks. His fastball didn’t display its typical premium velocity, as it was 89-93 mph against the Wolfpack.

Coach Kevin O’Sullivan brought in sophomore lefty Cade Fisher in relief for Caglianone in the second inning. The bullpen covered the final eight innings, allowing three runs while tallying nine strikeouts.

“Definitely didn’t have my best stuff today,” Caglianone said. “But I just knew that I had opportunities at the plate, and I wanted to take full advantage of them.”

While Caglianone didn’t perform up to his expectations on the mound, he made up for it at the plate.

After striking out on three pitches in his first at-bat, Caglianone started his second at-bat by taking a fastball over the middle of the plate. On the ensuing pitch, North Carolina State lefty Dominic Fritton threw another fastball in the exact same spot, and Caglianone made him pay to give Florida a 4-1 lead in the second inning.

North Carolina State intentionally walked Caglianone in two of his final three at-bats.

Caglianone has anchored Florida’s lineup and has been one of the best hitters in the country this season. The left-handed hitter is hitting .413 with 34 home runs and 71 RBIs.

Monday’s home run tied Caglianone with Matt LaPorta for the program record of 74 home runs in a career. LaPorta accomplished the feat in four years and went on to hear his name called with the seventh overall pick in the 2007 MLB draft. Caglianone is a top draft prospect, with scouts projecting him as a potential top-five overall pick in July’s draft.

Despite his personal accomplishments, Caglianone, a Tampa, Florida, native, remains focused on leading the Gators to their second-ever national title. Last year, Caglianone played a pivotal role in the Gators’ runner-up finish, and he’s determined to take them all the way this season.

“I just really don’t want to take this jersey off anytime soon,” said Caglianone to Baseball Prospect Journal. “The last time I take off this jersey, I want to be holding the trophy. That is what is pushing me and what has been driving me through everything.”

Video of Jac Caglianone hitting his second-inning home run.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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