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Tuesday March 20, 2007Stetson Edges Baseball, 4-3

DeLand, FL

A record crowd of 2,975 fans at Melching Field watched Stetson (18-7) notch a 4-3 victory over Florida (11-13) on Tuesday night. The Hatters plated three runs in the opening stanza and rode outstanding pitching from freshman Robby Donovan to collect their second-straight win over the Gators. The right-hander worked a career-high 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and two runs, to register his first collegiate victory and junior Robbie Elsemiller threw two scoreless innings to nail down his ninth save. Five different players had two hits for the hosts, while freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) went 3-for-4 for UF.

 

The Hatters reached freshman Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) (0-1), who was making his starting debut, for three runs on four hits in the first inning. Senior Shane Jordan led off with a double into the right-field corner and was driven in by a two-bagger from junior Josh Clendenin. A base-hit by senior Braedyn Pruitt left Stetson with runners on the corners and junior Justin Bass lofted a sacrifice fly to right field for a 2-0 lead. Franklin struck out rookie Aaron Crittenden but a wild pitch allowed Pruitt to move down to second. Moments later, sophomore Brian Pruitt poked an RBI double to put the hosts ahead by three runs.

 

UF got on the board in the second against Donovan following a leadoff triple by senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.), who scored on a grounder by classmate Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). Stetson then seized a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the frame on two hits and a wild pitch. Freshman Ryan Puskar started things off with a single into left and was sacrificed over by classmate Kevin Johnson. Jordan drew a walk for a pair of runners aboard and Clendeninís fielderís choice left the Hatters with first and third base occupied. A wild pitch scored Puskar and pushed Clendenin to second before Braedyn Pruitt scorched a single. The rookie right-hander worked out of further trouble by inducing a foul pop-up by Bass.

 

Freshman Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) replaced Franklin (3.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 K) in the fourth and retired the first four Hatters he faced. Back-to-back one-out singles by Crittenden and Brian Pruitt in the fifth forced a Gator pitching change, as junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) came out of the bullpen. Senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) made a leaping grab on a line drive by sophomore Jeremy Cruz and dove to beat the runner back to the bag for an unassisted double play to hold the margin at 4-1.

 

Petrieís one-out double in the seventh ended an impressive outing by Donovan. Over 6.1 innings, the rookie right-hander yielded six hits, three to Figueroa, with three K and two walks. Senior Chris Ingoglia, the reigning Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Week, plunked freshman pinch hitter Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) for two runners aboard and junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) roped an RBI single to right field for a 4-2 count. Not only did Townsend move down to second on the relay throw, it ended the relieverís brief stint in favor of sophomore Jake Hitchcock. Junior Bryson Barberís (Pensacola, Fla.) pinch-hit grounder pulled UF within 4-3 and Hitchcock kept the Hatters in front with a critical strikeout of LaPorta that stranded Townsend 90 feet away.

 

The Gatorsí bid to tie the game in the eighth fell by the wayside on a bizarre inning-ending double play. Senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) legged out an infield hit off Elsemiller with one down in the eighth and Leclerc delivered a single for his fourth-straight multiple-hit game. Sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.) flew out to center and Pride moved over to third. Elsemiller took the mound, threw over to second and Pride was ruled out for not tagging up.

 

Stetson had a 12-9 advantage in hits, as its top three hitters were a combined 6-for-13. The Gators resume Southeastern Conference action on Friday night with the opener of a three-game series at No. 21 Auburn (18-6/0-3 SEC). The game will be carried live on FSN at 7 p.m. ††

 

-UF-

 

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