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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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,
- Brandon McArthur raised his
hitting streak to six games, tying Barton for the longest by a Gator this
- UCF had five wild pitches in
- Tonight was the first meeting
between the Gators and Golden Knights since March 13, 1994, a 7-2 UCF
- 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