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Sunday March 11, 2007No. 9 Texas A&M Completes Sweep Of Baseball, 6-1

College Station, TX

Senior Kyle Nicholson (4-1) worked seven strong innings in his second start of the year as No. 9 Texas A&M (18-2) completed a weekend sweep of Florida (9-10), 6-1, before 3,577 fans at Olsen Field on Sunday afternoon. The right-hander equaled his career high of seven strikeouts and the lone run he allowed was a solo shot in the fourth by Gator freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). Junior Ben Feltner was a perfect 3-for-3 to lead the hosts, who hit .353 (36-for-102) over the three games and out-scored UF by a 26-7 margin.  

 

The Aggies used a first-inning sacrifice fly by junior Blake Stouffer off freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) to draw first blood. Feltner drew a walk, improved to 15-for-15 on stolen base opportunities this season and took third on a passed ball before coming home on a fly ball to center. Stouffer’s RBI was his team-leading 28th of the season and fourth of the series.

 

Florida threatened against Nicholson in the third but came away empty-handed. Junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) reached on a leadoff error by Aggie junior shortstop Brandon Hicks and freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) followed with a base-hit to right field. A grounder by senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) advanced the runners before Nicholson made senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) his third strikeout victim.

 

Bullock worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning to hold UF’s deficit to one run. After Hicks was hit by a pitch and Feltner extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a bunt, Stouffer was plunked to load the bases with one down. A fielder’s choice by senior Craig Stinson forced Hicks at the plate and Bullock had junior Darby Brown fly out to left to strand the runners.  

 

The Gators evened the score in the fourth when den Dekker sent a 3-2 offering from Nicholson over the wall in right field for his fourth homer. It was Florida’s first round-tripper of the weekend.

 

A&M reclaimed the lead in the home part of the frame with two runs on three hits. Sophomore Luke Anders stroked a one-out single and senior Josh Stinson drew a walk before Bullock responded by having senior Parker Dalton fly out to left field. Hicks stepped to the dish and punched an RBI single up the middle, scoring Anders, and the Aggies were left with runners on second and third courtesy of den Dekker’s fielding error. Although Feltner’s infield single brought across Stinson, Hicks was gunned down on a perfect strike from LaPorta to freshman catcher Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) to keep the Gators down by a 3-1 count. Bullock (2-3) left after four innings in which he scattered four hits and surrendered just one earned run.

 

An RBI grounder by Josh Stinson provided the Aggies with a 4-1 lead in the sixth. Sophomore Kyle Colligan opened the inning with a triple off sophomore Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) that eluded a diving effort by sophomore center fielder Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) and senior right fielder Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). Keating induced a pop-up in foul territory by Anders and Stinson’s grounder to short plated his teammate.

 

In a wild seventh inning, Texas A&M tacked on two more runs on three hits and two errors for a 6-1 advantage. Feltner legged out a bunt and was picked off first base by Keating before the home umpire called a balk on the hurler. UF head coach Pat McMahon was ejected following a lengthy conversation and Feltner was picked off second base soon after. Stouffer had an infield hit and took second on Barnes’ throwing error to prompt a pitching change. Junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) replaced Keating (2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R) and issued a walk to Craig Stinson. Junior Spencer Jackson then roped a single into left that scored Stouffer and a mistake by Pride in left field also enabled Stinson to score.

 

A&M out-hit the Gators by a 9-6 margin and received an inning of scoreless relief pitching from the duo of sophomore Kiel Renfro and senior Jason Meyer. Six different players accounted for Florida’s offense.

 

The Gators return to the friendly confines of McKethan Stadium to meet Army on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. UF will begin its 30-game Southeastern Conference schedule next weekend by hosting Western Division rival Mississippi State.        

 

-UF-

 

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