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Saturday March 10, 2007No. 9 Texas A&M Handles Baseball, 13-5

College Station, TX

Ninth-ranked Texas A&M (17-2) banged out a season-high 18 hits to hand Florida (9-9) a 13-5 defeat on Saturday afternoon in front of 4,154 fans at Olsen Field. With their 16th win in the last 17 games, the Aggies clinched the weekend series. Sophomore Luke Anders went 4-for-5 with three RBI, two doubles and a two-run homer to back the pitching of sophomore Kyle Thebeau (2-0), who worked 6.1 innings in which he allowed seven hits and five runs. Five A&M players registered multiple-hit efforts.         

 

The Aggies sent 11 batters to the plate in the second inning and knocked sophomore Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) out of the game with five runs on five hits. Senior Craig Stinson drew a leadoff walk and junior Darby Brown followed with a single up the middle before sophomore Kyle Colligan’s first round-tripper cleared the wall in left center for the 3-0 lead. After Anders doubled to right, he was sacrificed to third by senior Josh Stinson and scored on a single by senior Parker Dalton. Dalton moved over on a balk, stole third and came across when junior Brandon Hicks’ grounder was misplayed. A bunt single by junior Ben Feltner ended the afternoon for Locke (2-2, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R). Freshman Kyle Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) had junior Blake Stouffer ground out, with the runners advancing, before yielding a walk to Craig Stinson to fill the bases. The right-hander induced an inning-ending grounder from Brown to hold the count at 5-0.   

 

Florida answered with three runs of its own in the third off Thebeau to narrow the gap to 5-3. Back-to-back two-out doubles by junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) and freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) put the Gators on the board. A wild pitch from Thebeau pushed Figueroa to third and senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and junior Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) earned consecutive free passes to fill the sacks. Senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) ripped a two-run single to center to increase his RBI total to 12. Freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) flew out to strand two runners.

 

Texas A&M countered with a two-out rally in the bottom of the frame by scoring two runs. Colligan started things off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Mullaney struck out Anders and Josh Stinson. Dalton smacked an RBI triple off the wall in right and Hicks followed with an RBI double for a 7-3 margin to prompt a pitching change. Senior Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) replaced Mullaney (1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R) and was charged with a balk before having Feltner pop up to Figueroa just behind first base.

 

The hosts tacked on three more runs on five hits in the fourth to build a 10-3 lead. Stouffer and Craig Stinson opened with singles and Brown launched a two-run double to left center. A fly ball by Colligan advanced Brown and Anders delivered another two-bagger to put the Aggies ahead by seven runs.

 

Sophomore Cody Neer’s (Orlando, Fla.) fifth double of the year drove in den Dekker with one out in the sixth to bring UF within 10-4. Senior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) looped a Texas Leaguer into shallow center for runners on the corners but Thebeau answered by setting down sophomore pinch hitter Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) on a strikeout and had Townsend ground out.

 

LaPorta poked a one-out single in the seventh and Barber drew a walk to end the afternoon for Thebeau. Over 6.1 innings, the righty had five strikeouts and four walks. Although Pride greeted rookie Scott Migl with an RBI single to right field to make the score 10-5, den Dekker grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

 

Stouffer connected on his third homer in home part of the seventh off freshman Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) to give the Aggies an 11-5 cushion. In the eighth, Colligan drew a leadoff walk and Anders socked his first homer for a 13-5 margin. Soon after, Franklin (3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R) was replaced by sophomore J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, Fla.), who finished the game for Florida.

 

Texas A&M out-hit UF, 18-9, with Dalton (3-for-5, two RBI, two runs) and Stouffer (3-for-5) also chipping in. Pride was 3-for-4 and drove in three runs, while Figueroa went 2-for-5 for the Gators. Freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (2-2, 3.43) will get the starting nod in tomorrow’s finale at 1 p.m. against a pitcher to be determined. The game will be carried live on Sun Sports.

 

-UF-

 

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