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Sunday April 29, 2007No. 1 Vanderbilt Defeats Baseball In Series Finale

Nashville, TN

No. 1 Vanderbilt (39-8/15-6 SEC) completed a weekend sweep of Florida (23-23/10-11 SEC) with a 13-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at Charles Hawkins Field. The Commodores banged out 17 hits and used a career-high 11 strikeouts from junior Cody Crowell (2-1) to keep pace with Arkansas (35-12/15-6 SEC) atop the league standings.

 

Holding a 3-2 lead, VU tallied five runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to break the game open. Five different players drove in two runs for the home team, led by 3-for-5 efforts from sophomore Pedro Alvarez and junior Alex Feinberg. After missing the first two games of the series, senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) returned to the Gator lineup and extended his hitting streak to 20 games by going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a solo homer. 

 

The Gators seized a 1-0 lead in the first inning courtesy of a Commodore error. Freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) and junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) opened the game with consecutive singles before LaPorta sent a potential double play ball back to Crowell. However, the hurler threw the ball into center field, enabling Figueroa to score the opening run. Crowell rebounded by striking out senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) and had senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) line into a double play. 

 

After working out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (2-5) yielded two runs on three hits to Vanderbilt during the second frame. The right-hander issued a leadoff walk to sophomore Jonathan White and freshman Andrew Giobbi roped a one-out double down the left-field line to push White to third. Junior David Macias dropped an RBI single into shallow center to even the score and Feinberg put the hosts on top with a base-hit to right. Bullock stranded two runners by fanning junior Dominic de la Osa and had Alvarez ground out to short.

 

Sophomore Ryan Flaherty provided Vanderbilt with a 3-1 lead by leading off the home part of the third with his third homer. LaPorta answered with his SEC-leading 17th round-tripper to start the fourth, the 71st blast of his collegiate career and his first homer since April 14 at Arkansas. Senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) smacked a one-out single up the middle and moved into scoring position with his seventh theft of the year. The Gators caught a break when freshman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) reached on a wild pitch following what would have been an inning-ending strikeout. However, Crowell had freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) fly out to center.

 

The Commodores expanded their lead to 8-2 in the fourth on five runs, five hits and three Florida errors. Giobbi doubled off the left-field wall to start things off and came across on Feinberg’s 12th two-bagger of the year with one down. A throwing error by Leclerc on the relay throw allowed the runner to occupy third and Alvarez and Flaherty followed with consecutive two-out singles to give the Commodores a four-run margin and chase Bullock (3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 5 ER). With sophomore Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) on the mound, White reached on an error by Pisani to load the bases and junior Ryan Davis ripped a two-run single for a six-run count.

 

In the fifth, UF trimmed the deficit to 8-3 on a two-out RBI single by LaPorta that Macias lost in the sun. Townsend had been plunked with two down and scored all the way from first on the play. The two-hit outing was LaPorta’s 19th multiple-hit effort of the campaign.

 

Vanderbilt came right back with three more runs on three hits and an error to build an 11-3 lead. Macias and Feinberg began the frame with back-to-back singles and a fielder’s choice by de la Osa plated Macias. de la Osa stole second and went to third on a wild pitch and senior Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) replaced Keating (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R). The left-hander fanned Alvarez but then issued a free pass to Flaherty, who stole second to give Vandy runners on second and third. Porter struck out junior Shea Robin but uncorked a wild pitch that allowed de la Osa to score. Junior reliever Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) replaced Porter (0.1 IP, 1 R) and yielded an infield RBI single to junior pinch hitter Parker Hanks to bring in Flaherty.

 

After consecutive two-out doubles by de la Osa and Alvarez in the sixth boosted the Commodores’ lead to 13-3, Leclerc connected a two-out RBI single in the seventh to end the afternoon for Crowell. The left-hander scattered nine hits and permitted four runs (three earned), with 11 K and one walk. Figueroa made it three-straight games with two hits with a one-out single and freshman Jake Hicks (Molino, Fla.) delivered a pinch-hit single. Leclerc laced a single into left center for his 22nd RBI, 19 coming in league play. Figueroa lofted a bases-loaded sac fly in the eighth to finalize the 13-5 count. Florida returns home next weekend to host Western Division rival Alabama at McKethan Stadium.

 

-UF-

 

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