Pro Hockey News

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Relief Corps Pitches No. 4 Gators to Season Sweep of FSU

 JACKSONVILLE (  – No. 4 Florida came from behind for the 17th time this season to post a 7-5 victory over Florida State for a season sweep in the Sunshine Showdown at 121 Financial Ballpark on Tuesday night.

Wyatt Langford (2-for-3) and Jac Caglianone (2-for-5) turned in multi-hit nights while swatting back-to-back home runs. Blake Purnell was untouchable out of the bullpen, tossing a career-high five shutout innings with eight strikeouts.

The Gators (36-10, 14-7 SEC) pounced on the Seminoles (15-28, 6-18 SEC) with a four-spot in the top of the first. Caglianone opened the scoring with a two-run single to right field, allowing both Cade Kurland and Langford to score due to a fielding error in right field. Colby Halter followed with an RBI single to left while Dale Thomas drove in Luke Heyman with an RBI groundout to third base.

Florida State quickly responded with five runs in the bottom half to snatch a one-run lead. The outburst was highlighted by RBI knocks from Jamie Ferrer, James Tibbs, Cam Smith and Jordan Carrion, with Ferrer and Smith knocking a double and triple, respectively.

Florida turned to Nick Ficarrotta to escape the jam with zero outs in the first. The right-hander limited the damage and proceeded to work scoreless frames in the second and third.

Blake Purnell entered a bases-loaded jam in the fourth and held the score by retiring three Noles in order. That allowed UF to regain the lead in the top of the fifth, beginning with a solo home run to left-center by Langford. Caglianone made it back-to-back with his nation-leading 26th home run, tying Florida's single season record. Heyman capped it off with an RBI double of the right-field wall to make it 7-5.

Purnell cruised through the next two innings, facing one over the minimum. The right-hander returned to the mound for the seventh, stranding a Nole on third before stranding two more in the eighth to finish with a career-high five scoreless innings and eight strikeouts.

Philip Abner relieved Purnell in the ninth to close it out for the Orange & Blue. The southpaw retired all three batters he faced to record his second save and a season sweep over FSU.

Purnell (1-0) picked up the win by firing a career-high five innings of shutout ball with four hits allowed and one walk. He struck out a career-high eight batters in the process, doubling his previous best of four.

Seminoles reliever Andrew Armstrong (1-2) was charged with the loss after forfeiting two earned runs on four hits across 3 2/3 frames. He struck out three.