finished off a dominating weekend sweep of George Washington (1-9) on Sunday
afternoon with a 20-3 triumph at McKethan Stadium to
extend its winning streak to four games. The Gators scored in all eight trips
to the plate and took full advantage of nine walks and being hit a season-high
Pride (Longwood, Fla.) went 3-for-4, notched four RBI for the
second-straight contest and scored three runs, sophomore Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) was 3-for-5 with three runs and
freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.)
threw five scoreless innings to even his season ledger at 2-2. Over the three
contests, UF out-scored the Colonials, 51-8, batted .407 (48-for-118), drew 22
walks, roped 13 doubles and had 11 HBP.
“I am really pleased with our performance this weekend,”
said head coach Pat McMahon. “I just
can’t say enough about Austin (Pride). He has worked so hard from an offensive
perspective. He is versatile player who does well at multiple positions, and he
is unselfish in how he does that for us. Avery (Barnes) is also figuring out a
lot of things about what it takes to be successful. Sweeps at the collegiate
level are difficult to do, so that was a great accomplishment for the team. We
are learning to do the little things well, and that is a positive sign but we
still have areas to improve on from here.”
The Gators struck quickly with three runs on two
hits in the first inning against GW rookie Bobby Lucas (0-1). Junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.)
led off with a base-hit into right field and moved into scoring position on a
passed ball. Freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.)
drew a walk and senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was hit by a pitch for the third
time in the past two games to fill the sacks. Pride ripped a single off Lucas’
leg to drive in the first run and junior Bryson
Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) earned a free pass for a 2-0 lead.
Although sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando,
Fla.) grounded into a 4-6-3
double play, LaPorta came across to put UF up by three
Florida added two
more scores in the second on an RBI grounder by Figueroa and a bases-loaded HBP
by Barber. Freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond
Beach, Fla.) drew
a leadoff walk and stole second base. After Pigott moved
over on a grounder by Barnes, Townsend walked for runners on the corners.
Figueroa’s ground ball to second scored Pigott and an
intentional walk to LaPorta ended the day for Lucas
(1.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 5 BB). Freshman Ryan LaPointe plunked Pride to load the bases and hit Barber for
a 5-0 cushion before freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota,
Fla.) flew out to right.
UF plated four runs on three hits and an error in
the third to build a 9-0 lead. Senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater,
a fly ball to deep center field that was dropped, leaving him on third. Pigott and Barnes delivered consecutive run-scoring singles
for a 7-0 margin and Townsend’s RBI double chased LaPointe
(0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 WP). A groundout by LaPorta off
sophomore Pat Lehman later scored his teammate with the ninth run.
“It was a fun weekend for our ballclub
as a whole,” Barnes said. “It was our first sweep of the year, and that is
always big. We came out and tried to be aggressive, and our approach to swing
at good pitches was better. Our pitchers did a great job of keeping runners off
base, too. Now, we have to use this to move forward to our next game on
A Colonial fielding error in the fourth resulted in
a 10-0 score. Barber walked to start the frame, Tignor
smacked a single and Pigott’s one-out grounder was
booted to enable Barber to come in. The next inning, Barber’s two-out RBI
single brought across Pride (double) to increase UF’s
edge to 11-0.
Junior Charlie Kruer put
GW on the board with a homer to left off senior David Hurst (Jacksonville,
Fla.) to begin the sixth. However,
the Gators answered with five runs in the home part of the stanza to take a
16-1 lead. Freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
started things off with his third dinger, second in as many days. After Barnes’
first career triple, Townsend collected his second RBI of the game with a grounder.
Figueroa and LaPorta were hit consecutively with two
down and Pride bashed a three-run jack into the left-field bleachers for the
15-run cushion. The four-bagger was his third of the campaign and gave him
eight RBI in the past two games.
“We are learning to be more patient at the plate,”
Pride said. “Our guys were waiting on pitches and made hits out of it. I have
been working hard on getting ready for my pitch up there. We also had a lot of
hit-by-pitches today, and we were able to put guys on base and score every
inning with those. I think we let the game against USF be a springboard for us
into this weekend, so I hope we can keep this going.”
After GW scored once in the top of the seventh, the
Gators responded with two more runs for an 18-2 lead. After junior Dustin Bamberg (Winter
Haven, Fla.) was hit by a
pitch to begin the inning and Pigott was plunked with
one down, a throwing error on Barnes’ fielder’s choice allowed Bamberg to score. Senior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.)
then punched an RBI single to right to keep the scoreboard operator busy.
Pride earned a one-out walk from freshman Arllen Cruz in the eighth and moved to third on a pinch-hit
double by sophomore Brett Smith (Longwood, Fla.).
two RBI with a double down the left-field line to finalize the 20-3 margin.
and Blue totaled 15 hits, its fourth-straight outing reaching double-digits.
Townsend went 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBI. Four other pitchers threw
one inning apiece on the hill for UF after Bullock, Hurst (1 H, 1 R), sophomore
Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.)
(1 H, 1 R), senior Steven
Porter (Ocoee, Fla.)
(2 H, 1 R) and senior Kris
Fla.) (0 H, 1 K). Florida will
resume action on Tuesday night when it hosts Jacksonville at 6:30 p.m. The squads have not
met since the 2002 campaign.
LaPorta has now been hit 41 times in his career,
tying David Eckstein for second place on the school’s all-time list. Brian
Rose holds the team record with 48 HBP.
Figueroa’s nine-game hitting streak came to an end with an
0-for-3 performance, although he drew a pair of walks and scored twice.
three-game sweep was the Gators’ first since defeating Harvard (12-6,
10-2, 17-6) from March 10-12, 2006.
last time Florida plated 20 or more runs
in consecutive games was on March 13 & 15, 2002 during wins over the College of Charleston (23-8) and Ole Miss