(4-2) sent 10 batters to the plate during a five-run fourth inning and used
strong relief pitching to defeat fifth-ranked Miami (3-4) for the
second-straight day, 7-5, in front of a season-high crowd of 4,427 fans at McKethan Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The victory enabled
the Gators to clinch the series against the Hurricanes for the
third-consecutive year, a feat they had never accomplished, and marked the
club’s seventh-straight win in the series.
reliever Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.)
notched his first career win, while senior David
Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) picked up his first save with 1.2
scoreless frames as UF collected its fourth win in a row. Freshman
right-hander Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (1-0, 0.00) will start tomorrow’s
finale at 1 p.m. against Miami
junior LHP Manny Miguelez (0-0, 2.25).
extremely pleased with our bullpen’s performance today,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “Guys are beginning to
understand their role on the mound, and that is important so that we can defend
well behind them. Our bullpen is something that we take a lot of pride in with
their work ethic to keep us at the level of play we need to be at throughout
the season. Matt’s (LaPorta) play in the ninth inning
was such an outstanding defensive play, where he had the presence of mind to
get up and get it to David (Hurst) to make the play. David did well to finish
for us too. Miami
is a terrific team and they give us a lot of competition every time we play
them. One of our goals is to not to look at yesterday or tomorrow. We just take
on today, so this was a great game for our team’s psyche.”
Yonder Alonso provided the Hurricanes with a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning
with a two-run homer to left field off sophomore Stephen Locke (Tampa,
Fla.). Freshman Ryan Jackson
singled through the left side with one down and Alonso sent a 0-1 offering out
of the yard for the first round-tripper surrendered by the Gators this season
and his team-leading fourth four-bagger.
bottom of the inning, the Gators cut the deficit in half but left the bases
loaded against senior Danny Gil. Junior Jon
Townsend (London, Ky.)
roped a leadoff double to extend his hitting streak to six games and scored on
freshman Cole Figueroa’s (Tallahassee, Fla.)
RBI single up the middle. Gil hit senior Matt
LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.)
to move Figueroa into scoring position and the hurler rebounded by having
freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
fly out to left. A wild pitch by Gil advanced Figueroa to third and LaPorta was out 2-4-3 on the play. Although Gil plunked freshman
with two down and walked junior Bryson
Barber (Pensacola, Fla.)
to fill the sacks, the righty had senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.)
ground out to strand the runners.
tied the game in the bottom of the third with his second dinger of the
campaign, a shot deep over the palm trees in right field. However, Florida could not cash
in another bases-loaded opportunity and the score remained 2-2. den Dekker stroked a one-out single into right and moved
into scoring position with his second stolen base before Pisani
drew a base on balls. A hit through the right side by Barber loaded the bases and
Gil bounced back with back-to-back strikeouts of Leclerc
and freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.).
were throwing a lot of first-pitch fastballs, and our guys were taking
advantage of that,” Figueroa said. “Later in the game, they threw more
off-speed that had us off guard. We kind of played down a little bit then, so
it was good that we had jumped out to a big lead. I think I have been swinging
pretty well, but it is still early in the season and I have a lot of work left
grabbed a 3-2 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by senior Gus Menendez. Rookie
Mark Sobolewski punched a one-out flare into left and
advanced to second on a Gator fielding error. Menendez followed with a rip up
the middle for his third RBI of the series and later went to second on a wild
pitch by Locke. The southpaw buckled down to retire freshman Jason Hagerty (flyout) and sophomore
Blake Tekotte (grounder). In his second start of the
campaign, Locke scattered four hits and gave up three runs over four innings
with two strikeouts and a walk.
Eric Erickson took over for Gil (3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R) in the fourth and the Gators
sent 10 batters to the plate and tallied five runs on four hits and an error to
assume a 7-3 lead. Sophomore Avery
Barnes (High Springs, Fla.)
and Townsend had consecutive singles to start things off and Figueroa’s
grounder moved his teammates to second and third. Following an intentional walk
to LaPorta, the slugger’s second of the season, den
Dekker coaxed a walk after a 10-pitch battle to tie the game. Pisani’s grounder to third was then misplayed, enabling Townsend
to come across for a 4-3 UF advantage. Junior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven, Fla.) delivered a pinch-hit RBI
single and sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando,
Fla.) went down on strikes before freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.)
smashed a pinch-hit, two-run single into center field to provide the hosts with
a four-run cushion.
Hurricanes countered with a run in the sixth to narrow the gap to 7-4.
Sophomore Dave DiNatale led off with a double down the
right-field line off Keating and classmate Dennis Raben’s
single left UM with runners on the corners with none out. A grounder by Sobolewski brought across DiNatale
and Keating had senior Roger Tomas fly out before catching Hagerty
looking at strike three. Miami
pulled closer the next inning on a two-out single by Alonso that scored
sophomore Jemile Weeks, who had a two-bagger down the
left-field line. McMahon replaced Keating (2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R) with junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.),
who had DiNatale line out to LaPorta.
fly ball to begin the eighth was dropped, leaving him on second base. After
Edmondson set down Sobolewski, he was replaced by Hurst. The left-hander
induced a pair of ground balls to preserve the Gators’ two-run edge. In the
ninth, Jackson poked a two-out single to left
center and senior left fielder Chris
Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) ended the ballgame with a sterling
grab of a ball launched by Alonso. A sparking defensive play by LaPorta opened the UM’s last turn
at the dish, as the first baseman robbed Tekotte of
potential extra bases with a diving stop and flipped to Hurst for the out.
“Miami is such a talented team,” Hurst said. “It takes a lot of effort to beat
them, so when Matt (LaPorta) dove on the line in the
ninth inning to get the ball, those are huge plays for us. Our bullpen has been
working really hard, too. We have new guys in there, and some of the older guys
and I are trying to help them out. When we opened the season, I don’t
necessarily think we were playing poorly, but it gave us a chance to see how well
we have to play day-in and day-out and how important consistency is for us to
squad finished with nine hits, with Figueroa (2-for-5, two RBI) and Townsend
(2-for-5, two runs) leading the way for Florida.
Alonso’s 2-for-4, three-RBI effort led the Hurricanes and Jackson was 2-for-5. Erickson (0-1) took the
loss after a four-inning stint in which he yielded four hits and five runs
(three earned) with four K.
- The Gators have hit a home
run in all six games this season.
- Both of Cole Figueroa’s
homers have started an inning (8th against VMI, 2/11 & 3rd this
- The teams have combined for
12 errors in the first two games of the series, seven by Miami
and five by Florida.
- Jonathan Pigott
is 2-for-3 (.667) as a pinch hitter this year.