FEATURE: From College World Series to Collegiate National Team, Jac Caglianone’s Journey to Team USA

The sophomore from Florida donned the red, white and blue for the first time as a member of the 2023 Collegiate National Team

He’s a Golden Spikes Award Finalist, Unanimous First Team All-American, American Baseball Coaches Association Position Player of the Year, College World Series Runner-Up, and now, a Team USA alumnus.

Jac Caglianone has taken the world of college baseball by storm over the past year, and established himself as one of the most talented two-way players in the game.

The University of Florida left-handed pitcher and first baseman is a force on the mound and at the plate with his 6’5” frame and powerful swing, leading the NCAA with 33 home runs and posting a 1.122 OPS and 4.34 ERA during his second year as a Gator.

Caglianone’s sophomore campaign was capped off by a trip to the Men’s College World Series finals in Omaha, Nebraska, where Florida ultimately fell to Louisiana State University in the championship series which came down to a decisive game three.

“It’s really the stuff that you dream about,” Caglianone said. “Our biggest goal that year was to make it to Omaha and win a ring. We came up just short, but it was a great experience nonetheless.”

At the College World Series, Caglianone was recognized as a Golden Spikes Award finalist – an honor recognizing the top amateur baseball player in the country who exhibits outstanding performances on the field and exemplary sportsmanship off the field.

“You have to put the team's goals first before you enjoy personal success, but being honored for the most prestigious award in college baseball was pretty awesome.”

It was in Omaha that the Tampa, Florida, native received the news that he had been selected as a member of the 2023 Collegiate National Team, a team composed of the top non-draft eligible players in the country. Despite his newfound notoriety, the selection for the CNT was the first time Caglianone had been named to a Team USA roster. 

“It meant everything. I’ve always wanted to represent my country and play with a great group of guys. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m really excited to be a part of this and enjoy my time out here.”

Reaching the Men’s College World Series finals meant that following the final matchup of the three-game series against LSU, Caglianone spent one night in his hometown of Tampa before heading to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, to compete in international competition against Chinese Taipei in the 20th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series and Japan in the 44th Collegiate All-Star Championship Series.

As he was taking the field and representing the United States for the first time, Caglianone was also getting to know his teammates on the Collegiate National Team, many of whom he played against during the college season.

“Honestly, it’s been surprising how well everybody seemed to click. You’re playing with guys that you played against during the season, so you don’t know if there’d be any animosity, but everybody’s been getting along great and I’ve made some new friends. It’s been awesome.”

Aside from his size and talent, the thing that struck Team USA third base coach and University of Southern California Head Coach Andy Stankiewicz about Caglianone is his character off the field and his exceptional understanding of the game of baseball.

“What I have enjoyed with Jac is getting to know him,” Stankiewicz said. “ He’s down to earth.  He’s a great worker. He's really got a high baseball IQ. He understands the game. He wants to be a good defender as well as a good hitter. He’s very smart on the bases. I'm really impressed with the person as much as I am with the skill set. What a bright future he has.”

As evidenced by Caglianone’s three home runs and eight RBIs in the series against Chinese Taipei and Japan, the sophomore standout continued his trend of powerful plate performances with Team USA.

“He hit a home run dead center last week on one of the pro fields. He’s got raw power that a lot of people don’t have. He’s not just a big guy.”

When asked about life in the spotlight after the conclusion of the college season, Caglianone simply responded that he wants to be a positive influence on the next generation.

“I really just want to be an inspiration for younger kids,” Caglianone said. “Anything is attainable if you work for it, you just have to work hard and put the time in. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices, but it’s all worth it. Just enjoy the game and be present in the moment. It goes too quickly for you to worry about all the failures.”

From the College World Series to the Collegiate National Team, Caglianone’s future is bright. It’s clear that he will continue to shine in whatever environment he is in, whether that be facing the best in college baseball or donning the red, white, and blue in international competition.