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In a thrilling marathon of baseball, the Florida Gators emerged victorious over the Clemson Tigers with an 11-10 win in 13 innings during the Clemson Super Regional. This hard-fought victory propels the Gators back to the College World Series, marking their 14th trip to Omaha and the ninth under the guidance of head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

The game, which stretched over five hours, was a showcase of determination, resilience, and sheer willpower from both teams. It all began with a bang in the first inning when Florida’s Jac Caglianone launched a powerful two-run homer over the batter’s eye. This impressive shot marked Caglianone’s 33rd home run of the season, bringing him just one shy of matching Matt LaPorta’s career record of 74 home runs. The Gators took an early 2-0 lead.

However, the game quickly turned intense in the second inning. A confrontation occurred when Caglianone tagged out Clemson’s Blake Nawrocki on a ground out. Nawrocki’s elbow made contact with Caglianone, leading to a pushback from Caglianone. The altercation escalated, resulting in both teams’ benches clearing. Clemson’s first baseman, Jack Crighton, was ejected for crossing the field and joining the fray. Both teams received a warning from the umpires.

Clemson used this incident as motivation and responded robustly in the top of the third inning. Jacob Hinderleider hit an RBI double, and Blake Wright followed with a two-run homer, giving Clemson a 3-2 lead. The Gators, however, quickly responded with Colby Shelton hitting a clutch RBI single to tie the game at 3-3.

Florida regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Cade Kurland drew a one-out walk, followed by Caglianone receiving an intentional walk. Ashton Wilson was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Shelton once again delivered, this time with a two-RBI single, pushing Florida ahead 5-3.

The Gators kept their offense moving in the bottom of the sixth inning. Brody Donay hit a two-run homer, extending Florida’s lead to 7-4. But the Tigers were far from finished. Clemson clawed back in the eighth inning with RBI singles from Cam Cannarella and Tryston McCladdie, cutting the Gators’ lead to 7-6. Florida’s reliever, Brandon Neely, managed to get out of the inning by inducing a fly out from Jarren Purrify with runners on first and second.

Florida extended their lead to 9-6 in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs, Clemson intentionally walked Caglianone, but Ashton Wilson capitalized on the opportunity by smashing a two-run homer to left field. In the top of the ninth, Clemson’s Cam Cannarella delivered a dramatic three-run homer off Neely, tying the game at 9-9. Neely, under immense pressure, managed to navigate through the inning, maintaining the tie.

The game remained deadlocked at 9-9 through the middle innings, forcing the contest into extra innings. In the top of the 13th, Clemson’s right fielder Alden Mathes hit a solo home run off Florida reliever Luke McNeillie, giving Clemson a 10-9 lead. Following Mathes’s go-ahead home run and subsequent bat flip, Clemson coach Erik Bakich was ejected from the game.

In the bottom of the 13th, Florida showed their resilience. They loaded the bases, and center fielder Michael Robertson stepped up with a clutch two-RBI double into the left-center field gap, securing an 11-10 victory for the Gators.

This victory underscores the grit and determination of the Florida Gators, who now advance to the College World Series. Their performance in this epic battle will be remembered as one of the most thrilling and hard-fought games in their storied baseball history.

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