Men's College World Series Day 4: Florida eliminates NC State, big inning puts Texas A&M in semifinals

Jac Caglianone made up for a bad pitching start with a big home run

Virginia became the first team to be eliminated from the 2024 Men's College World Series on Sunday. Florida and NC State faced the possibility of being next in Monday's first game from Omaha, and the Gators eked out a victory, sending the Wolfpack home.

In the nightcap, Texas A&M topped Kentucky in a battle of 1-0 teams. The game went the Aggies' way thanks to a five-run fifth inning to put them into Wednesday's semifinal.

Kentucky's Mason Moore was excellent through five innings, but his second walk of the game, with Texas A&M's Jace LaViolette at bat, was the beginning of the end for the Wildcats' pitcher and the game.

After LaViolette's lead-off walk, Jackson Appel followed with a double to right field. Hayden Schott then broke the game open with a two-RBI single that gave the Aggies a 2-0 lead.

Moore delivered another walk before exiting the game. Cameron O'Brien struck out the first batter he faced in the top of the sixth, but Ali Camarillo's double and Kaeden Kent's two-RBI single put Texas A&M up 5-0.

Key stats

Aggies starter Ryan Prager took a no-hitter into the seventh, but Kentucky's Ryan Nicholson ended the bid for history with a two-out single. Prager, a lefty red-shirt sophomore, finished with 6 2/3 innings pitched, two hits allowed, one walk and four strikeouts.

Nicholson ended the Aggies' shutout bid in his next at-bat, delivering a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. The blast was his 23rd of the season, tying him for the Kentucky single-season record.


With two outs in the second, Kentucky's James McCoy thought he could surprise the A&M defense with a squeeze bunt. However, Appel made an outstanding throw to first base on a very close play.

McCoy's tough night continued in the fifth, with a misplay on Ali Camarillo's liner. It was one of those plays that could've been an out but instead served to extend an inning that proved costly for the Wildcats.

The Gators and Wolfpack each lost their first College World Series game, putting them in jeopardy of elimination Monday afternoon. Florida rebounded to stay alive in the tournament, sending NC State home.

Junior Jac Caglianone pitched only one inning after allowing one run and showing low velocity (averaging 88 mph) on the mound. ESPN cameras showed him rubbing his forearm in the dugout afterward. But whatever he was feeling didn't affect him at the plate, as his three-run home run in the second gave the Gators a 4–1 lead.

With the homer, Caglianone tied Matt LaPorta for the most in Florida baseball history, with 74. The two-way star has hit 67 long balls the past two seasons. His 34 homers this season are a single-season record for a Gators hitter.

After the game, Caglianone told reporters that there was no physical issue; he just didn't have his "best stuff."

Key stats

After Caglianone's home run, NC State coach Elliott Avent didn't give the Gators star another chance to beat his club, intentionally walking the slugger twice with runners on base.

Wolfpack pitcher Logan Whitaker did everything he could to keep his team close after taking over in the third. He threw seven innings, notching a career-high 10 strikeouts while allowing one run and two hits.


NC State slugger Alec Makarewicz got the Wolfpack back in the game with a two-run shot in the third that cut Florida's lead to 4–3. The third baseman came into Monday's game batting .380 with a 1.188 OPS, 23 homers and 82 RBI.

In the sixth, right fielder Noah Soles made an excellent, diving catch on a deep drive to the warning track by Florida's Cade Kurland (who got an RBI earlier in the game), preventing a likely extra-base hit.

What they're saying

"Last night, I ordered chicken wings and Domino's and watched his film. It was like watching a horror film on Halloween," Avent said of facing Caglianone, via ESPN broadcaster Mike Monaco.

"I know it's not traditional or whatever. But at the same time, we're not a Major League Baseball team. We're college kids, and the reality of it is that most of us won't play baseball after college. So we do what we can to enjoy it." - Kentucky reliever Ryan Hagenow on the team's "Cowboy Up" approach to loosen the tension in games.

What's next

Texas A&M will now move to Wednesday's semifinal and could face Kentucky again if the Wildcats defeat Florida in Tuesday's elimination game.