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Friday March 31, 2006No. 17 Vanderbilt Shuts Out No. 15 Baseball, 6-0

Gainesville, FL

Sophomore David Price and freshman Nick Christiani combined on a six-hitter as No. 17 Vanderbilt (18-8/6-1 SEC) blanked No. 15 Florida (18-12/2-5 SEC), 6-0, on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. Price (4-2) notched 13 strikeouts without a walk and limited the Gators to five hits over eight innings, while Christiani completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth. The Commodores’ top two hitters in the lineup, sophomore David Macias and freshman Pedro Alvarez, were each 3-for-4 and freshman Ryan Flaherty (2-for-2) drove in two runs.


“We have to give Vanderbilt credit,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “David Price is one outstanding pitcher, and he proved it tonight. He throws to both sides of the plate and comes out and competes. I’m proud of Bryan Ball’s effort for us tonight. It was a tough outing for him, but he held us in the game, and that will win out in the long haul.”


“These guys have worked very hard,” McMahon continued. “Tonight we battled into some opportunities that just slipped away from us. We can feel sorry or we can find a way to work hard and get it done. The team is hurting right now, and that’s good because it shows they care, but it can work against us too because they start to press. To be a quality ball club you have to string together good at-bats, and that’s one area we are presently lacking in, and will have to continue working hard to get better at.”


Flaherty provided Vanderbilt with a quick lead after a two-run single in the first inning. Macias walked on four pitches to start the game and Alvarez followed with a base-hit up the middle. A passed ball advanced the runners into scoring position before senior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.) induced a foul pop-up by senior Brian Hernandez. Flaherty singled through the right side to open the scoring and Ball retired the next two hitters on a groundouts. 


Junior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) led off the third for the Gators with a single and Price responded with strikeouts of sophomore Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) and junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.). Pride moved into scoring position with his third stolen base before the left-hander fanned junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) for his seventh K.


The Commodores increased their lead to 4-0 in the fourth with two runs on three hits. Flaherty started things off with a double and sophomore Dominic de la Osa beat out a bunt for runners on the corners. After de La Osa stole second, sophomore Shea Robin delivered a grounder to bring across Flaherty. A single by sophomore Ryan Davis gave Vanderbilt runners at first and third again and sophomore Alex Feinberg’s ground ball to short scored de la Osa.


A two-out RBI single in the fifth by de la Osa and a throwing error by Ball enabled Vanderbilt to build a 6-0 lead. Alvarez smashed a one-out single, stole second and Flaherty drew a walk with two down. De la Osa punched a base-hit to plate Alvarez and Ball’s attempted pickoff over to first sailed wide, allowing the sixth run to score.


The Gators mounted a two-out threat in the seventh but came away empty-handed. Sophomore Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) collected his second hit of the night with a flare into left center and junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) legged out an infield single and a throwing error gave UF runners on second and third. Price slammed the door by having Pride fly out to shallow center. 


Flaherty walked to begin the eighth and Robin laced a one-out single into left to end the night for Ball (4-4). Over 7.1 innings, the right-hander allowed 11 hits and six runs (four earned), with three walks and a pair of strikeouts. Making his collegiate debut, freshman Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) struck out Davis and junior catcher Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) gunned down Flaherty attempting to steal third to complete the double play.


Junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.) reached on an error against Christiani to start the bottom of the ninth and took third on a single by Jeroloman, who was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. The reliever fanned McArthur and had Leclerc ground out to end the game. Game two of the series will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, with sophomore right-hander Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) (5-2, 2.26) starting for the Gators against senior right-hander Matt Buschmann (3-2, 3.48).


Game Notes

  • Florida fell to 4-10 when its opponent scores first.
  • Bryan Ball notched his second pickoff of the season in the fifth inning against David Macias.
  • The Commodores ended a three-game losing streak to the Gators.
  • UF turned three double plays tonight, bringing the club’s total to 36 on the campaign.
  • The Gators were held scoreless for the fourth time in 2006.




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