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Sunday March 19, 2006No. 13 Baseball Overcomes Seven-Run Deficit To Upend No. 7 Arkansas, 8-7

Gainesville, FL

Trailing 7-0, No. 13 Florida (17-7/2-1 SEC) rallied for five runs in the seventh and junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) belted a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth to lift the Gators to a wild 8-7 victory over No. 7 Arkansas (17-3/1-2 SEC) in the rubber game of the weekend series at McKethan Stadium on Sunday afternoon. UF managed just six hits through the first six innings against senior Charley Boyce before erupting for eight runs on seven hits in its final two at bats. Senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-0) threw two scoreless innings to secure his club’s eighth win in the last nine games.

“I am really proud of our guys and their effort,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “One of the great things about sports is that teams need to play pitch-by-pitch and inning-by-inning. Our bullpen put us in a position to win and this victory shows the strength our character within our club. Adam (Davis) is as clutch a player as there is in this game.”    

Arkansas sent nine men to the plate and tagged freshman Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.) for five runs on four hits in the opening frame. Senior Craig Gentry and sophomore Clint Arnold opened the game with consecutive base-hits before junior Danny Hamblin’s sacrifice attempt was mishandled by Spottswood, loading the bases. The right-hander hit sophomore Brian Walker to bring across Gentry with the initial run and freshman James Ewing lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Arnold. Freshman David Hum sliced an RBI single through the right side to drive in Hamblin and an errant pickoff throw by Spottswood resulted in runners on second and third. An RBI single by junior Jake Dugger made the score 4-0 and ended the afternoon for Spottswood (0.1 IP). Junior Blake Parker’s grounder off sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) enabled Hum to come across before the reliever struck out freshman Matt Willard.  

A sacrifice fly by Hamblin in the second gave the Hogs a 6-0 lead. Gentry had smacked a leadoff double, his third two-bagger of the weekend, and advanced on a grounder by Arnold. Hamblin’s fly ball to right resulted in a six-run deficit for Florida.

In the bottom of the inning, UF loaded the bases with one out against Boyce but came away empty-handed. Freshman Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) opened with a single, junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) punched a one-out base-hit up the middle and junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) singled to fill the sacks. However, Boyce had sophomore Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Edmondson matched a career-high with 3.2 innings of work, allowing three hits and a run. In his team-leading 14th appearance, the righty had two strikeouts and a walk. Junior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) worked a career-high 2.1 innings before junior Kris Gawriluk (Deltona, Fla.) entered the ballgame with Hamblin on third and one down in the sixth. After issuing a walk to Ewing, Gawriluk was replaced by redshirt freshman Matt Hightower (Cartersville, Ga.). Freshman pinch hitter Wayne Hrozek’s grounder to shortstop scored Hamblin to increase the margin to 7-0. Hurst gave up two hits and one run during his stint, while Hightower went two-thirds of an inning.   

Florida tallied four runs on four hits and two Arkansas errors in the bottom of the seventh to narrow the gap to 7-5. Petrie reached on an error to start things off and junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.) followed with a pinch hit into shallow right field. Sophomore Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) stroked an RBI single down the right-field line to put the Gators on the board and end the afternoon for Boyce (6.0 IP, 8H, 3R, 1ER, 2K). Davis greeted junior reliever James Gilbert with a sac fly to left to score Cash and junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) punched a single into left field for two runners aboard. Gilbert retired junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) on a flyout before a throwing error on Barnes’ grounder allowed Barber to come across. Senior Devin Collis took over for Gilbert and yielded an RBI single to junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) to make the score 7-4 and a passed ball reduced the Gators’ deficit to two runs. Collis jammed junior pinch hitter Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) on a foul pop-up to end the inning.   

Willard singled off the third-base bag with one down in the eighth, stole second and reached third when Jeroloman’s relay throw went into the outfield. O’Day came through with a strikeout of Gentry and had Arnold ground out to strand the runner.

Petrie led off UF’s eighth with a base-hit to center and Cash followed with a single, prompting a Razorback pitching change. Junior Brian McLelland (2-1) came out of the bullpen and Barber laid down a sac bunt to move the runners into scoring position. Davis cranked a three-run blast off the scoreboard overlooking right field on a 2-1 pitch to move the Gators in front for the first time.

O’Day retired the first two Arkansas hitters in the ninth before Ewing punched a single into center to extend the inning. The right-hander induced a fly out to center by Hrozek to secure the win. Florida out-hit the Razorbacks, 13-11, as the quartet of Barber (2-for-2), Barnes (2-for-4), Cash (2-for-2, two runs) and Davis (2-for-4, four RBI) had multiple-hit outings. Gentry went 3-for-4 with two runs out of the leadoff spot for UA.

The Gators will resume action on Tuesday night when they host Stetson (10-12/2-4 A-Sun) at 6:30 p.m. UF claimed both of its meetings with the Hatters last season, including an 8-3 win in the NCAA Gainesville Regional.

-Game Notes

  • The five first-inning runs were the most the Gators have surrendered in the first inning this year and matched the most in any inning in 2006, as Missouri had five in the second inning on Feb. 24.
  • Avery Barnes had his first career double in the fourth.
  • Adam Davis’ last home run before this afternoon was on Feb. 25 against Ohio State.
  • The Gators are now 12-0 when they have more hits than the opponent.
  • Today was the first time Florida has come back to win trailing after seven innings, the squad had been 0-7.

 

-UF-

 

 

 

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