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Wednesday March 14, 2007Baseball Turns Back Army, 5-3

Gainesville, FL

Florida (10-10) overcame a 2-0 deficit with three runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh en route to a 5-3 victory over Army (5-8) on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. Senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) belted a go-ahead two-run homer during the sixth to help the Gators end a four-game slide. Junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) worked a career-high 4.2 innings, scattering seven hits and permitting one run, to even his mark at 1-1. Sophomore Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) recorded his first career save by working out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and pitching a scoreless ninth.    


Army seized a 1-0 lead in the first inning against freshman Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.). Junior Caleb Love drew a leadoff walk, stole second base and advanced to third on base-hit to left by senior Barnes Connell. Although senior Milan Dinga grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, Love came across with the game’s opening run.


A two-out RBI single by Dinga in the third extended the Black Knights’ advantage to 2-0. Sophomore Tony Capozzi started things off with a single into center and was sacrificed into scoring position by Love. Following a pop-out from Connell, Dinga roped Chapman’s 1-2 offering into left for his team-leading 10th RBI. After an infield hit by junior Kyle Stramara, Edmondson replaced Chapman (2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R) on the hill.


Despite having runners on second and third with one down in the fourth, the visitors failed to capitalize. Sophomore J.P. Polchinski and junior Chris Simmons opened the frame with consecutive singles before rookie Bo Cipra moved his teammates along with a sac bunt. Edmondson worked out of the jam by fanning Capozzi and having Love ground out.


The Black Knights threatened again in the sixth and were kept at bay by Edmondson. Simmons legged out an infield hit to short with one out and Cipra was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch pushed the runners to second and third and the right-hander responded with his second K of Capozzi and had Love tap out to third to hold the deficit at two runs.  


In the bottom of the inning, the Gators rallied for three runs off senior Ben Mayhew to move on top, 3-2. Senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) walked with one down but was forced at second when senior Matt LaPorta’s (Port Charlotte, Fla.) infield fly was dropped and the shortstop had enough time to throw over to second base. LaPorta moved to second on a balk and freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) ripped a clutch double into the right-field corner to cut the deficit in half. Following a wild pitch by Mayhew, senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) launched his fourth homer into the left-field bleachers to provide the hosts with a 3-2 advantage.


UF tacked on two more runs in the seventh to build a 5-2 lead. Freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) poked a leadoff double to right and scored on sophomore Avery Barnes’ (High Springs, Fla.) one-out triple that ended the night for Mayhew (6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 K). Junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) walked on four pitches from sophomore Austin Grimes and freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) delivered a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to shallow center to bring across Barnes.


Army narrowed the gap to 5-3 and had the bases loaded with one down in the eighth, only to have sophomore Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) induce an inning-ending double play by Love. With one down, junior pinch hitter Thomas Frawley walked and the duo of Simmons and Cipra stoked base-hits to fill the sacks. Capozzi singled through the right side and prompt a pitching change, as Keating took over for Edmondson (4.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 4 K). Love smashed a 1-1 pitch to Figueroa, who stepped on second and fired a strike to LaPorta to end the stanza.


Army held a 13-8 edge in hits, as Simmons was 3-for-3 and the quartet of Capozzi, Cipra, Dinga and Stramara had two apiece. Pride and Figueroa chipped in with a couple of hits each for the Orange and Blue. The Gators will begin their 30-game Southeastern Conference schedule on Friday night when they begin a three-game series versus Mississippi State (11-3) at McKethan Stadium. The Bulldogs claimed two of three meetings last May in Starkville.  




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