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Tuesday March 14, 2006Offensive Outburst Continues; Baseball Downs UCF, 10-3

Orlando, FL

In front of 1,729 fans on Tuesday night, the fifth-largest crowd in Jay Bergman Field history, No. 13 Florida (15-6) collected its sixth-straight win with a 10-3 triumph over UCF (10-10). Senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) held the Golden Knights scoreless over a season-high 3.2 innings with five strikeouts for his first win of the year, senior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) was 3-for-5 with four RBI and junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) was 3-for-5 with a three-run homer. The Gators reached double digits in hits for the third-straight outing and exceeded 10 runs for the fourth-consecutive game.


Helped by a UCF error and three wild pitches by freshman Mitch Herold, the Gators grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second. Junior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) reached on a throwing error to begin the frame and moved into scoring position on a grounder by junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). A wild pitch advanced Pride and an infield single by junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) resulted in the first run. The second wild pitch of the frame enabled Dickey to occupy second and junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) drew a two-out walk before Barton’s third double of the season brought across Dickey and Davis.


The Golden Knights countered with three hits in the bottom of the second but managed only one run off freshman Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.). Rookie Steve Stropp beat out an infield hit with one down and freshman Ryan Williams followed with a double for runners on second and third. Freshman Dave DiNatale made it three-consecutive hits with an RBI single into left to narrow the gap to 3-1. Jeroloman gunned down DiNatale attempting to steal second and Spottwood fanned junior Matt Horwath to end the inning.  


Florida broke the game open with three runs on two key hits in the fourth to build a 6-1 advantage. Herold issued consecutive walks to Dickey and sophomore Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) to begin the stanza and was replaced by junior Derek Abriola. Over three innings, Herold (0-3) allowed three hits and five runs (two earned), matched his career-high with six strikeouts and permitted four walks. Abriola plunked Davis to load the bases and Barton punched a two-run single up the middle for a 5-1 lead. Soon after, McArthur sliced an RBI single to score Davis with the sixth run. The reliever prevented further scoring with a couple of strikeouts and a fielder’s choice by Leclerc also erased Barton at the dish.


Freshman Kiko Vazquez brought the Golden Knights within 6-2 with a leadoff homer in the home portion of the fourth. It was his team-leading third round-tripper of the campaign. Spottswood bounced back to fan senior Ryan Bono before a two-base fielding error allowed Stropp to take second. After an RBI single into center by Williams closed the gap to 6-3, Spottswood buckled down to whiff DiNatale and had senior pinch hitter Dave Lambert fly out.   


Sophomore Tyson Auer singled to start UCF’s fifth and Spottswood struck out sophomore Danny Kash before giving way to junior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.). Spottswood totaled a career-high six K over 4.1 innings, while giving up six hits and three runs (two earned). Hurst faced just one batter, freshman Shane Ynclan, who hit a grounder to Davis at short. Auer beat the relay throw to second and with Ynclan aboard, McMahon made another call to the bullpen. O’Day punched out Vazquez and had Bono ground out to Pride at first to preserve the 6-3 lead for the visitors. 


A two-out triple off the fence in right field by Leclerc in the sixth put Florida ahead, 7-3. Jeroloman had singled and took second on UCF’s fourth wild pitch of the contest before Leclerc’s second three-bagger of the year.


Jeroloman cranked a three-run bomb in the eighth to provide the Gators with a 10-3 cushion. Barton led off with a base-hit into left center off junior Brian Brooks and McArthur earned a base on balls before Jeroloman’s third big fly of the year ricocheted off the scoreboard.


Florida held a 13-7 edge in hits, as four different players turned in multiple-hit efforts. Joining Barton and Jeroloman in leading the hit parade were Dickey (2-for-4, two runs) and Gaski (2-for-4). Williams went 3-for-4 to pace the Golden Knights. After O’Day’s outstanding relief effort in which he gave up just one hit, sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) retired UCF in order to end the game.


The Gators will open Southeastern Conference action this weekend at McKethan Stadium when No. 7 Arkansas (16-1) comes to town. Game times are 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.


Game Notes

  • Florida improved to 13-1 when scoring first and 10-0 when it out-hits its opponent.
  • Darren O’Day’s 21st win of his Gator career moved him into a tie for ninth on the school’s all-time list with Jim Courier (1967-69).
  • Stephen Barton extended his hitting streak to a career-high six games.
  • With a season-high four RBI, Barton was one shy of his personal high set against Mercer on Feb. 8, 2003.
  • Brandon McArthur raised his hitting streak to six games, tying Barton for the longest by a Gator this year.
  • UCF had five wild pitches in the contest.
  • Tonight was the first meeting in Orlando between the Gators and Golden Knights since March 13, 1994, a 7-2 UCF victory.
  • Florida now leads the all-time series, 17-11, with a 5-3 advantage away from Gainesville.
  • Matt LaPorta missed his 13th game with an oblique strain but is expected to return this weekend.






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