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Wednesday March 29, 2006No. 15 Baseball Holds Off South Florida, 6-5

Gainesville, FL

Junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs to lift No. 15 Florida (18-11) to a 6-5 victory over USF (14-12) on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. The win ended a four-game losing skid for the Gators, who used a two-run single by Davis in the fourth to move in front to stay. Sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) earned the win to raise his mark to 3-0, while senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) pitched 2.2 innings to collect his fifth save.


“We found a way to get it done today against a very good South Florida club,” said head baseball coach Pat McMahon. “A lot of times, with what we’ve been through, we could have folded, but we stuck with it. We got the bat into the hands of the guys who want the bat in their hands, and the guys we count on to make the big plays.”


“Our guys answered calls tonight,” McMahon continued. “By that I mean when the other team scored, so did we. Good ball clubs do that, and we are trying to become a good ball club. This game was a good sign for our offense since we had a couple of clutch two-out hits. Although we have to be more disciplined at the plate with pitch selections, overall I saw good things from the offense this evening.”


Davis put the Gators on the board in the opening frame with a home run over the right-field fence. It was his fifth round-tripper of the season and came off junior Yuri Higgins with one down.


UF loaded the bases with none out in the third and pushed across just one run for a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) led off with a base-hit into left, junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) was hit for the 10th time on the campaign and Davis walked to fill the sacks. Junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was plunked to bring across a run before Higgins rebounded with strikeouts of juniors David Cash (Odessa, Fla.) and Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) and had junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) force LaPorta at third with a grounder for the final out.  


The Bulls countered in the fourth with three runs on three hits to take a 3-2 lead. Freshman Addison Maruszak and senior Kris Howell began the frame with consecutive singles to end the night for junior Kris Gawriluk (Deltona, Fla.). The right-hander worked three innings and was charged with two runs on four hits. Senior Matt McHargue greeted redshirt freshman reliever Matt Hightower (Cartersville, Ga.) with an RBI double to deep center field to drive in the first run and Howell scored on a wild pitch when Hightower’s strikeout of sophomore Brandin Daniel got past junior catcher Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.). A fielder’s choice by sophomore Joey Angelberger against Edmondson scored McHargue with an unearned run to put the visitors ahead.


Sophomore Jim Cassidy took over for Higgins (3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 K, 2 BB, 2 HBP) in the fourth and retired the first two Gator hitters before the home team rallied. Gaski legged out an infield hit and Dickey followed with a sharp single past the first baseman, with a throwing error on the relay giving Florida runners on second and third. Davis punched a two-run single into right to move the hosts back on top, 4-3. Cassidy (2-1) was charged with the defeat after giving up four hits and three runs (two earned) over two innings.


Freshman Braulio Pardo and junior Ty Taborelli had back-to-back singles top open the fifth for USF and were sacrificed into scoring position by Maruszak. Edmondson fanned Howell for the second out and was replaced by junior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.), who caught McHargue looking on strikes to strand the runners and preserve the one-run lead.


Leclerc led off the home portion of the fifth with his second homer of the year, a shot to right center, to give the Gators a 5-3 advantage. Daniel started the Bulls’ sixth with a walk and sophomore Dexter Butler poked a one-out single. Hurst worked out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play on a ball hit by junior Nick Cardieri.


Pardo connected on a leadoff double in the seventh for USF and was sacrificed to third by Taborelli. Senior O’Day took over for Hurst (1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 K) and permitted a sac fly in foul territory by Maruszak that narrowed the gap to 5-4. Howell sliced a single into right field and McHargue punched another safety to give the Bulls runners on the corners before O’Day retired Daniel on a grounder to keep the Gators ahead.


Cash singled with one down in the bottom of the seventh, prompting a pitching change. Senior Matt Ingram came in and walked Leclerc on four pitches for two Gators aboard and was replaced by junior Nick Manganaro. Junior pinch hitter Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) forced Leclerc at second but pushed Cash to third with a grounder and Jeroloman followed with a two-out RBI single for a 6-4 margin.


Butler stroked a one-out single in the eighth and freshman pinch hitter Gus Fernandez reached on a throwing error before Pardo laid down a sacrifice bunt to put two USF runners in scoring position. O’Day issued an intentional walk to Taborelli to fill the bases and the move paid off when the righty had Maruszak ground out to LaPorta to end the frame.


Howell beat out an infield hit to open the ninth and took second on the play on O’Day’s throwing error. The reliever answered with a strikeout of McHargue before Daniel ripped an RBI single up the middle to pull USF within 6-5. It was the first run allowed by O’Day since Feb. 26, a span of eight appearances and 19.1 innings. The righty had Angelberger fly out to right and Butler singled for a pair of runners aboard. O’Day struck out senior pinch hitter Brian Baisley to end the game.


USF held a 15-8 advantage in hits, as Butler, Howell and McHargue were each 3-for-5. Davis and Gaski contributed two hits apiece for the Gators. The Orange and Blue resume Southeastern Conference play on Friday at 6:30 p.m. when they will begin a weekend series against No. 17 Vanderbilt (17-8/5-1 SEC). Saturday’s game will be at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s finale will be at 1 p.m.


Game Notes

  • The Gators are now 14-2 when they score first and 7-2 when they score in the first inning.
  • Florida turned two double plays, giving it 35 on the season.
  • UF was hit three more times tonight, putting the club into a tie for ninth on the single-season chart with 47 HBP.
  • Florida has now produced a homer in three-straight games for the fourth time this season.
  • Darren O’Day has converted all five of his save opportunities.
  • David Cash extended his hitting streak to a season-high six games.
  • Adam Davis leads the Gators in multiple-hit games (9) and multiple-RBI games (8).








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