den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
snapped a 2-2 tie with a towering home run with two down in the 11th on Sunday
afternoon to help Florida (18-13/7-2 SEC) complete its first sweep of Georgia
(10-17/3-6 SEC) at Foley Field since 1993. The rookie’s fifth round-tripper off
junior Joshua Fields (1-4) boosted the Gators’ winning streak to seven games,
including consecutive weekend road sweeps of Auburn
Freshman Kyle Mullaney
(Jacksonville, Fla.) threw a career-high three
scoreless innings to improve his season ledger to 2-0.
Townsend (London, Ky.)
and freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.)
poked consecutive singles off freshman Justin Earls to start the game before a
33-minute rain delay. When play resumed, senior Matt LaPorta (Port
Charlotte, Fla.) hit into a
4-6-3 double play and senior Austin
Pride (Longwood, Fla.)
grounded out to keep the game scoreless.
The Gators squandered a chance to get on the board
in the third, when they loaded the bases with one out and could not break the
ice. den Dekker and Townsend started the frame with
walks and Figueroa’s grounder advanced both runners into scoring position. LaPorta was walked intentionally for the ninth time this
year to load the bases and the move paid off when Earls struck out Pride and had
sophomore Cody Neer’s
grounder force LaPorta at second.
Neer put Florida ahead, 2-0, on an infield hit with
two down and the bases full of Gators in the fifth. Figueroa poked a seeing-eye
single with two out and LaPorta drew a walk to end
the afternoon for Earls. Over 4.2 innings, the right-hander scattered four
hits, issued five free passes and registered three strikeouts. After sophomore
reliever Trevor Holder issued a base on balls to senior pinch hitter Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) to load the sacks, Neer sent a check-swing roller up the third-base line. The
relay throw from junior Ryan Peisel over to first was
seconds late and both Figueroa and LaPorta came
around to score.
the deficit in half during the sixth inning courtesy of a bases-loaded walk. Freshmen
Rich Poythress and Luke Stewart stroked back-to-back
one-out singles off freshman Billy Bullock
and the righty had Peisel
fly out to right before yielding to senior David
Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.). Bullock worked 5.2 innings, giving up six hits
and one run, with two K and a walk. Hurst
walked rookie Matt Cerione to fill the bags, then walked
freshman pinch hitter Joey Lewis for a 2-1 margin. Hurst rebounded with a crucial strikeout of
senior pinch hitter Matt Robbins after the batter fouled off multiple 3-2
The Gators’ bid for another run in the seventh was
denied on a sterling defensive play by sophomore shortstop Gordon Beckham. With
Townsend at second and LaPorta at first because of
walks, Neer roped a ball that seemed destined for
center field. However, Beckham made a diving stop and flipped to second to
preserve the 2-1 score.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the
frame on a two-out double down the left-field line by Poythress.
Senior Steven Porter (Ocoee,
Fla.) took over for Hurst at the outset of the stanza and set
down the first two hitters he faced. Beckham smashed a single to right and Poythress’ fourth double resulted in a 2-2 stalemate.
Piesel led off the home part
of the eighth with a single into right but was erased at second on Cerione’s failed sacrifice attempt. Junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.)
replaced Porter and was greeted by a base-hit from Lewis. A grounder by
sophomore Miles Starr pushed the runners into scoring position and prompted
another pitching change, as freshman Kevin
Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) came in from the bullpen. A walk
to senior Jonathan Wyatt loaded the bases and the southpaw worked out of the
jam by having junior Matt Olson ground out to Figueroa.
In the bottom of the ninth, Mullaney
put down the first two UGA hitters before walking Stewart. A balk advanced
junior pinch runner Blake Cannady into scoring
position and a fielding error by Townsend extended the inning. Mullaney rebounded to have Cerione
ground out to send the game to extra innings.
an 11-9 advantage in hits and left 15 runners on base, compared to 12 for UF.
Figueroa and Townsend had two hits apiece for the visitors, while the trio of
Beckham, Poythress and Stewart chipped in with two
each for UGA. The Gators are back in action on Tuesday night when they meet No.
1 Florida State (29-2/7-1 ACC) at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville at 7
p.m. This will be the second of three meetings between UF and the Seminoles
this season. FSU collected a 14-6 victory at McKethan
Stadium on Feb. 20.