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Thursday May 18, 2006Four-Run Ninth Lifts LSU Over Baseball, 7-3

Gainesville, FL

LSU (34-20/13-15 SEC) snapped a 3-3 stalemate with four ninth-inning runs to hand Florida (26-28/8-20 SEC) a 7-3 defeat on Thursday night at McKethan Stadium. Freshman Jarred Bogany broke the tie with an run-scoring single up the middle off senior reliever Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) and senior Bruce Sprowl (RBI single) and sophomore Michael Hollander (two-run single) provided added insurance as the Tigers claimed the series opener.


Senior Chase Dardar (6-3) threw 2.1 scoreless innings to pick up the victory, while senior Will Harris induced a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to collect his third save. Sophomore Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) (9-6) suffered a hard-luck loss despite pitching into the final frame. The right-hander allowed eight hits and five runs (two earned) with six strikeouts and three walks. Augenstein worked seven innings or more for the 13th time in his 15 starts and now has 98 K.


The Gators drew first blood on sophomore Bryson Barber’s (Pensacola, Fla.) two-out single up the middle that brought across junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) in the first inning. Davis had opened the game with a walk and moved into scoring position with his team-leading ninth stolen base. Barber punched junior Edgar Ramirez’s 2-1 offering into center field to put UF on top.


In the second for LSU, senior Matt Liuzza stroked a leadoff single into right center and junior Steven Waguespack followed with a flare into left. Sophomore Jordan Mayer grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to advance Liuzza to third before Augenstein caught Bogany looking on strikes to end the frame.   


Florida threatened again in the home part of the second but came away empty-handed. Junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.) sliced a one-out single into left and took second when Ramirez was called for a balk. After sophomore Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) earned a free pass for a pair of runners aboard, Ramirez worked out of the jam with consecutive strikeouts of junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Davis.


LSU’s defense prevented the Gators from adding to their lead in the fifth inning, as the Tigers used an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to keep the margin at 1-0. McArthur started things off with a base-hit into right and an infield hit with one down by Davis put UF in business. Ramirez snuffed out a potential scoring threat by inducing a ground ball by junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) that resulted in two outs.


Barber collected his second hit of the game with one down in the sixth, advanced to second base on a wild pitch and junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) walked on four pitches. Ramirez had junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) ground into a 4-6-3 double play to close the stanza.    


Helped by a pair of Florida errors, LSU seized a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Liuzza led off with a base-knock to center and Waguespack reached on a Gator throwing miscue. Mayer’s sacrifice bunt attempt went back to Augenstein, who forced Liuzza at third. The right-hander retired Bogany on a fly out to right but senior Will Harris delivered an RBI single to score Waguspack for the tying run. A bobble on the play also allowed Mayer to come across to give the Bayou Bengals the lead. Sprowl stroked a run-scoring single up the middle for a two-run LSU cushion.


The Gators knotted the game in the bottom of the inning on a two-run homer by McArthur. After Cash beat out an infield hit, McArthur blasted his second round-tripper of the season, his first since opening night against Cincinnati. Senior pinch hitter Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) drew a walk and Davis sliced a double down the left-field line to prompt a pitching change. In his first start as a Tiger, Ramirez scattered eight hits and was charged with three runs over six-plus innings. He issued four walks and registered four strikeouts. Dardar had Jeroloman line out to third and intentionally walked LaPorta to load the sacks. The maneuver paid off when Barber grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to preserve the stalemate.


LSU erupted for four runs on four hits in the ninth to seize the victory. Waguspack lofted a Texas Leaguer to start the inning and Mayer drew a walk to end Augenstein’s tenure on the hill. Bogany greeted O’Day with an RBI single up the middle to give the Tigers a 4-3 advantage. After O’Day had Harris pop up to Jeroloman, Sprowl laced a base-hit to right to bring in Mayer and Hollander poked a two-run single for a 7-3 margin.


Florida loaded the bases with one down in the ninth, as Davis singled, Jeroloman walked and LaPorta was hit by a pitch. Harris came in from third base to replace Dardar and had Barber ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play to end the game on his first pitch.


LSU out-hit Florida, 11-9, and turned four double plays. Sprowl finished 3-for-5 with two RBI, while Bogany (2-for-4, one run, one RBI), Liuzza (2-for-4) and Waguespack (2-for-4, two runs) turned in multiple-hit outings. Davis went 3-for-4 to lead the Gators, with Barber, Cash and McArthur chipping in with a couple of hits apiece. UF stranded 10 runners, compared to six for the Tigers.


Senior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.) (4-9, 5.66) will oppose junior southpaw Clay Dirks (4-4, 4.74) on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. and will tie Marc Valdes' school record of 55 starts by a pitcher established during the 1991-93 seasons.


Game Notes

  • Tonight was the first regular-season meeting between the Gators and Tigers since March 16, 2003, an 8-8 tie in Baton Rouge.
  • Florida dropped to 22-5 this year when scoring first.
  • The Gators are now 17-16 at McKethan Stadium this season.
  • Junior Adam Davis took over the team lead with his 12th double.




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