Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) matched a school and SEC record
with 10 runs batted in, featuring his first career grand slam in the second
inning and a three-run dinger in the eighth, as Florida (28-27/15-14 SEC)
punched its ticket to next week’s SEC Tournament with a 20-2 victory over
Tennessee (32-23/12-15 SEC) on Friday night at McKethan
Stadium. Barnes (3-for-5, four runs) entered the game with one career homer and
had driven in 15 runs on the season.
“We did a wonderful job of working counts, taking
walks and making big plays offensively, tonight,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “I am very proud of
Avery’s performance. He was solid equally at the plate and making clutch plays,
defensively, like his double play. Though we clinched a spot in the SEC
Tournament, our emphasis is that tomorrow is a series opportunity. Our goal is
a series win before we look beyond that. I am anxious to see how Billy
(Bullock) responds and steps up tomorrow.”
Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.)
(2-for-6) chipped in with a career-best five RBI and belted two home runs, a
grand slam in the third and a solo shot in the sixth. After
yielding two runs in the first, junior Bryan
Fla.) (7-5) worked
eight innings, scattering nine hits and registering nine strikeouts, to post his
third-straight win. Florida
also took advantage of 11 walks and five hit-by-pitches on its way to its
season-high run total in SEC play.
“I concentrated on what needed to be done today,” Augenstein said. “I have been working on my delivery, and
in my last three games, I have been a lot more relaxed. I’ve been locating my
breaking ball better, and I have more confidence in my slider. It is a relief
to know we’re going to Hoover,
but we still have to come out fighting tomorrow so we can get the best seed
four-consecutive two-out hits off Augenstein to seize
a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. The right-hander retired the first two Vols before yielding back-to-back singles to junior J.P. Arencibia and freshman Yan Gomes.
Freshman Jeff Lockwood put the visitors on the board with an RBI single into
right center, and sophomore Tony Delmonico followed with a bloop
single into center field.
Barnes connected on his first career grand slam to
give the Gators a 4-2 advantage in the second. Senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater,
Fla.) drew a leadoff walk, freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.)
laced a single and sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando,
Fla.) earned a free pass from
freshman Nick Hernandez (4-3) to load the bags with none out. Barnes sent a 3-1
offering from the lefty over the right-field fence for his second big fly of
the campaign and UF’s fourth grand slam. After junior
Jon Townsend (London,
Ky.) was hit by a pitch and senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte,
Fla.) was walked
intentionally for the seventh consecutive time in the series, Hernandez (1.2
IP, 2 H, 4 R) was pulled in favor of sophomore Danny Wiltz.
“You dream about having a big night like this,”
Barnes said. “I wasn’t even focused on how many hits I had. I’m not exactly a
power hitter, so I was just trying to play hard. It is a good feeling to make
the SEC Tournament since we couldn’t go last year. It makes it special because
this will be my first time in Hoover.
We just have to take it as serious as possible from here.”
10 batters to the plate and added six more runs in the third, highlighted by Figueroa’s first career grand slam. Leclerc started things off with a walk and Pigott and Neer were both plunked
to fill the sacks. Wiltz walked in two runs with free
passes to Barnes and freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota,
Fla.) and was replaced by
sophomore Lance McClain. Figueroa hammered the reliever’s first pitch to right
for his 10th dinger to clear the bases.
UF increased its lead to 11-2 in the fourth on a
bases-loaded walk to LaPorta. Neer
led off by being hit by a pitch, Tignor walked with
one down and Townsend collected Florida’s
fifth HBP of the night to load the bases with two out. LaPorta
then picked up his team-leading 50th RBI with his 49th walk. In the sixth, Figueroa
blasted his second HR of the night with no one aboard for a 12-2 cushion.
The Gators plated three more runs on four hits in
the seventh to take a commanding 15-2 lead. Leclerc punched
a one-out single off freshman Ryan Butner and Pigott followed with a base-hit to right. Barnes increased
his RBI total to seven with a two-run, two-out knock into left and Tignor provided a run-scoring single up the middle.
The offensive outburst continued for Florida in the
eighth, as the squad tallied five more runs on four hits, featuring a three-run
jack to right center by Barnes and an RBI single by freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). The Gators finished with 20 runs
on 14 hits, receiving contributions from nine different players on Senior Night.
Juniors Julio Borbon and Andy Simunic
had two hits apiece for the Vols. Freshman Billy
Bullock (Valrico, Fla.)
(2-6, 5.64) will start tomorrow’s regular-season finale at 11:30 a.m. on Sun
Sports against a Tennessee
pitcher to be determined.