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In a high-stakes elimination game at the 2024 College World Series, the Florida Gators managed to keep their season alive with a hard-fought 5-4 victory over the NC State Wolfpack on Monday afternoon. The win marks a critical bounce-back for the Gators, who had previously faced a tough loss against Texas A&M but have now secured their seventh win in nine games of the NCAA Tournament.

The game began with NC State taking an early lead in the bottom of the first inning, courtesy of an RBI single from Brandon Butterworth. This initial run put the Gators on the defensive, but Florida’s response was swift and decisive in the top of the second inning.

With two outs and the score tied at 1-1, Jac Caglianone stepped up to the plate for the Gators. Facing an 0-1 count against Wolfpack left-hander Dominic Fritton, Caglianone delivered a powerful three-run homer that traveled 404 feet into the right-field seats. The line-drive shot, which had an impressive exit velocity of 116 mph, swung the momentum firmly in Florida’s favor and put them ahead 4-1.

Despite the early deficit, NC State showed resilience, gradually chipping away at Florida’s lead. The Wolfpack managed to narrow the gap to 4-3 and later to 5-4, creating a tense atmosphere as the game progressed. However, the Gators’ defense and strategic pitching ensured they maintained their edge.

Tyler Shelnut added to Florida’s tally with a solo home run, further solidifying their lead. The Gators’ offensive prowess was complemented by an outstanding performance from their closer, Brandon Neely. Neely, who has been a cornerstone of Florida’s pitching lineup throughout the tournament, earned his fifth save of the season. He pitched three scoreless innings, showcasing remarkable control and composure under pressure, effectively shutting down any hopes of a Wolfpack comeback.

The victory not only prolongs Florida’s campaign in the College World Series but also highlights their resilience and capability to perform under intense pressure. With the combination of powerful hitting and strategic pitching, the Gators have demonstrated why they remain a formidable force in the NCAA Tournament.

As Florida looks ahead to their next challenge, the team will draw confidence from this crucial win and the stellar performances from key players like Caglianone and Neely. The Gators’ journey in the College World Series continues, fueled by their determination and the unwavering support of their fans.

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