Thompson Walks Off Florida State to Take Season Series

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Sterlin Thompson lifted Florida to a 7-5 walk-off victory over No. 20 Florida State with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh in the decisive third game of the season series at Condron Family Ballpark on Tuesday night.

Thompson’s nine-inning blast broke a 5-5 tie that lasted from the top of the fourth until the bottom of the ninth. The walk-off winner marks Florida’s second in as many home games against the Seminoles (32-19, 15-12) ACC), following last year’s 10th inning walk-off shot by Kendrick Calilao..

Leadoff man Wyatt Langford got the Gators (33-19, 13-14 SEC) on the board on the very first pitch of the bottom of the first inning, homering off the batter’s eye in center field. The big fly marked Langford’s 18th of the campaign and his second since being moved to the leadoff spot 12 games ago.

The Seminoles quickly responded, grabbing the lead on a two-run home run off the bat of James Tibbs in the second inning. Logan Lacey extended the advantage to 3-1 with an RBI double down the left-field line, scoring Brock Mathis.

After a scoreless frame from reliever Fisher Jameson in the third, the Florida bats busted out for a four-run frame. Langford got it going with his second homer of the night, sending a 3-1 offering over the wall in center. Jac Caglianone then drove in a pair with a single through the right side, as both Josh Rivera and Thompson crossed home. Ty Evans capped off the outburst, tripling to deep right field to plate Caglia none.

Florida’s newfound 5-3 edge was squashed the next half inning, with Florida State knotting the game up with two runs. Mathis came in to score on a wild pitch for the first run, while Jordan Carrion singled in Tyler Martin to tie the game at five runs a piece.

The score remained locked at 5-5 from the bottom of fourth through the eighth, thanks to 3 1/3 shutout innings of relief from right-hander Tyler NesbittThe Labelle, Fla. native entered in the sixth and blanked the Seminoles throughout the duration of his outing, allowing just one hit and recording five strikeouts.

Right-handed pitcher Ryan Slater took over for Nesbitt with one out in the top of the ninth, needing just five pitches to send the matchup into the bottom of the seventh and setting up a potential walk-off winner.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, a familiar-but-magical moment struck Condron Family Ballpark in the Florida-Florida State rivalry. After working a full count, Langford singled to center to keep the inning alive, prompting a Seminole pitching change After taking a pair of pitches for a 1-1 count, Thompson unloaded on a mammoth, walk-off home run to right field to send Gator fans into a frenzy.

Slater (4-3) earned the victory, tossing 2/3 of an inning in the top of the seventh with no baserunners allowed.

Florida State reliever Davis Hare dropped to 1-3 on the year, finishing with 1 2/3 innings pitched and allowing one earned run on one hit and one walk. He struck out three.

Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. Gators starter Nick Ficarrotta He struck out five. Seminoles starting pitcher Jackson Baumeister lasted 2 2/3 frames, surrendering four earned runs on three hits and two walks. He struck out five.

Langford (3-for-5) and Evans (2-for-4) collected multiple hits in the victory.

NOTABLES

  • Thompson collected the first walk-off hit of his college career, connecting on a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
    • Thompson’s walk-off winner marks Florida’s second in as many home games against the Seminoles, following last year’s 10th inning walk-off shot by Kendrick Calilao..
  • With the victory, Florida claims the season series over Florida State, two games to one.
  • Florida improves to 4-2 vs. the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.
  • Ficarrotta made his first-career start on the mound.
  • Langford’s leadoff homer marked his 18th of the campaign and his second since being moved to the leadoff spot 12 games ago for the series opener vs. Kentucky.
    • Langford picked up his 22nd multi-hit game and 10th three-hit performance of the campaign, both of which lead the team.
    • Langford later hit his 19th home run of the season, tying Jud Fabian for the team lead.
  • The Gators are 12-1 in midweek games this season.
  • Florida improves to 14-2 vs. in-state teams in 2022.
  • Florida is now 124-131-1 vs. FSU including a 65-49 mark at home.
    • The Gators are 32-19 vs. the Seminoles under Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan including 17-3 at home.
    • Florida has won 19 of the last 23 meetings including 14 of the last 17.
  • Florida has won 10 of its last 12 games.
  • Thompson extended his on-base streak to 22 games.
  • Langford extended his on-base streak to 14 games and his hitting streak to nine straight.

FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN
On Wyatt Langford’s hot streak and the walk-off winner…

“We’ve had some really good hitters come through here, but it seems like every time he comes to the plate, he’s got a chance to do something special. When guys are hot like this, you sit back and enjoy it. It kind When he would get hot the whole ballpark would stop and watch him. Starting the game off with a homerun, three hits again tonight, a couple of home runs. We get that thing going in the Sevens and Sterlin sat on a pitch and came up big for us at that point…. It was a fun night. The crowd was awesome. They were into it. We’re looking forward to finishing this thing up this weekend against South Carolina. “

On the team bringing the energy vs. Florida State…
“Yeah, of course. I think they would tell you the same thing. Anytime you play any in-state school, but Florida State has a little extra to it, Miami has a little extra to it. It means a lot to a lot of people, a lot of fans. “

On the importance of this win…
“You saw the reaction. I think that tells you everything you need to know. It’s big. Playing this time of the year. Playing Florida State at home in front of seven thousand people or so. We were fortunate enough to win some games recently. It’s important. We’re getting in the part of the season where every win is magnified, and I’d like to think that we’re hopefully playing the best baseball this time of year . Certainly, this win is only going to help the RPI moving forward. Yeah, it was a big win. It was a fun win, too. “

FROM STERLIN THOMPSON
What went through his mind during the walk-off…
“It was a blur, honestly. I saw enough, I knew it was gone and I threw my bat. That’s something I dreamed of as a kid, especially against FSU, a big-time rival. It was amazing going around the bases… It was something I’ll never forget. “

UP NEXT
Florida welcomes South Carolina to town for a three-game series spanning from Thursday, May 19 to Saturday, May 21. Saturday’s season finale is Senior Day. All three game against the Gamecocks will stream on SEC Network +.

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