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Saturday April 1, 2006No. 15 Baseball Downs No. 17 Vanderbilt, 6-4

Gainesville, FL

Boosted by a four-run fifth inning, No. 15 Florida (19-12/3-5 SEC) evened its weekend series with No. 17 Vanderbilt (18-9/6-2 SEC) with a 6-4 victory on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Sophomore Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) (6-2) worked 5.1 innings to collect his first SEC victory as the Gators ended a four-game losing streak in league play and snapped the Commodores’ conference winning skein at five. Celebrating its 50th reunion this weekend, Florida’s 1956 SEC Championship team was honored in a ceremony prior to the game.

 

“I am very proud of our ballclub and the way they competed,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “We were clutch in our two-out performances. Chris Petrie, Matt LaPorta and Brian Leclerc came up with key hits with two outs and Bryan (Augenstein) did a great job pitching to an advantage count.”

 

“We have a great respect for Vanderbilt. They have a tough offensive attack and we competed against that and defended the field well. We played ourselves into the position to even the series and that is where we wanted to be.”

 

 “The entire team brought and played with a lot of energy today,” said Augenstein. “They pulled me through when I was getting down. We put forth a great effort.”

 

After Augenstein set down Vanderbilt in order in the first, senior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) led off with a bunt single. A grounder by junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) forced Barton at second and junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) connected on a base-hit to left center to advance his teammate to third. A sacrifice bunt by junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) scored Davis with the opening run.

 

The Gators grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fourth on a two-out triple by junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) off senior Matt Buschmann (3-3). Jeroloman had started things off with a double before the right-hander retired the next two UF hitters. Petrie drove a 3-1 pitch to the wall in center field to collect his fourth RBI of the season.

 

Sophomore Dominic de la Osa opened the fifth for the Commodores with a single and moved to second on sophomore Ryan Davis’ fly ball to center. Augenstein stranded the runner by having sophomore Shea Robin fly out and sophomore Alex Feinberg ground out.

 

In the bottom of the inning, LaPorta and junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) each cranked two-run homers to expand Florida’s lead to 6-0. Barton drew a one-out walk and Buschmann jammed Davis on an infield pop up before LaPorta stepped to the dish and blasted a 1-0 pitch into the left-field bleachers for his fourth round-tripper. Following a walk to Jeroloman, Leclerc belted his third four-bagger for the six-run cushion.

 

Vanderbilt rallied with three runs on four hits in the sixth to close the gap to 6-3. Sophomore David Macias sliced a single through the right side with one down and freshman Pedro Alvarez earned a free pass. Senior Brian Hernandez roped a two-run triple and freshman Ryan Flaherty chipped in with an RBI single to score Hernandez. De la Osa pushed his teammate to third with a single to left and Davis walked to load the bases, prompting a pitching change. Sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) took over for Augenstein (5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R) and induced a ground ball from Robin that forced Flaherty at the plate for the second out. The reliever stranded three VU runners by having Feinberg ground out to Davis at short, who tagged second to end the inning.   

 

Sophomore Cameron Betourne replaced Buschmann (5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R) before the Gator sixth and issued a one-out walk to junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.). Cash swiped second for his first stolen base of the season and advanced to third when the relay throw went into the outfield. Despite walking Barton to give the Gators runners on the corners, Betourne had Davis fly out to keep his club’s deficit at three runs.

 

Alvarez jacked his fourth homer of the campaign with two down in the seventh to pull the Commodores within 6-4. In the home portion of the inning, Jeroloman drew his second walk of the game with one down and Betourne retired Leclerc on a foul fly to third before sophomore Ty Davis took over on the mound. After sophomore Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) greeted the reliever with a pinch-hit single, the righty had Petrie fly out to center.

 

Junior Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) replaced Edmondson (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R) prior to the eighth and kept Vanderbilt off the board before senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) worked a scoreless ninth to collect his sixth save in six opportunities. Vanderbilt held a 9-8 advantage in hits, as de la Osa was 3-for-4. LaPorta was 2-for-4 with two RBI and six other Gators chipped in with one hit.

 

“They made runs at us but we stuck to our game plan and came out with the win,” said LaPorta. “We were a little flat last night and came out today with more intensity and stuck to the little things.”

 

Tomorrow’s series finale will be at 1 p.m. and be carried live on Sun Sports. Sophomore left-hander Cody Crowell (3-0, 1.85) will make the start for the Commodores against a Gator pitcher to be determined.

 

Game Notes

  • Florida improved to 15-2 when it scores first and is now 15-0 when leading after six innings.
  • Bryan Augenstein’s 5.1 innings marked the first time in eight starts he did not work at least seven innings.
  • The Gators did not commit an error for the first time in 18 games, a stretch that began on March 3 against Texas A&M. 

 

-UF-

 

 

 

 

 

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