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Wednesday February 27, 2008Baseball Cruises Past EMU 15-2, In Twinbill Opener

Gainesville, FL -

Making his season debut, Florida sophomore center fielder Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) drove in a career-high six RBI and belted his first career grand slam as the Gators (4-0) erupted for a season-high 18 hits on their way to a 15-2 victory over Eastern Michigan (0-5) in the opener of a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. The game was halted in the seventh inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.

 

Junior southpaw Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) (1-0) worked five innings in which he totaled four strikeouts and gave up two hits and a pair of runs before freshman Cody Barnes (San Mateo, Fla.) threw two scoreless frames. Locke’s K total was his highest since registering seven against Arkansas on May 25, 2005. The trio of junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) and sophomores Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) and Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) each had three hits and was a combined 9-for-13 with seven runs at the top of UF’s lineup.     

 

Florida reached EMU sophomore lefty Robert Wendzicki (0-1, 4.0 IP, 11 H, 9 R) for four hits and four runs in the first inning and did not look back. Barnes (3-for-4, two runs) led off with a single up the middle and advanced to third on a base-hit into left field by Pisani (3-for-4, two runs). Figueroa (3-for-5, three runs, two RBI, two stolen bases) delivered an RBI single to begin the scoring and the Gators executed their third double steal of the season for a pair of runners in scoring position. Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) (2-for-3, two runs, two RBI) made it four-straight games driving in a run with a grounder that scored Pisani for a 2-0 lead. den Dekker (2-for-3, two runs) drew a two-out walk and stole second before freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) earned a free pass to fill the sacks. Sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (2-for-3, three RBI) poked a double to left that brought in Figueroa and den Dekker but Adams was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

 

EMU answered with a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by senior Michael Boyd that scored junior Aaron Powell, who had a leadoff double. Florida countered with five more runs in the home part of the inning, highlighted by den Dekker’s grand slam, to build a 9-1 lead. In a carbon copy of the first stanza, Barnes had a single and moved to third on a base-hit by Pisani. Figueroa collected his second RBI of the contest for a 5-1 lead and McArthur followed with a hit up in the middle to load the bases. Wendzicki caught senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) for the second out, only to have den Dekker launch a 3-1 pitch over the right-field wall near the scoreboard to clear the bags.

 

A two-out RBI single from junior Jim Gulliver in the fifth drove in senior Josh Ivan with the Eagles’ second run. The Gators greeted sophomore reliever Kevin Wammes (0.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R) with four hits in a row, started by back-to-back triples by Adams and Pigott, before sophomore Buddy Munroe’s (Miami, Fla.) RBI single dropped in just beyond the reach of Gulliver at shortstop. Barnes and Figueroa singled to load the bases with one down and McArthur drew a walk for a 12-2 margin. Following a fielder’s choice by Townsend that forced Barnes at the plate, den Dekker roped a two-run single off sophomore John Ballarin to balloon UF’s advantage to a dozen runs. Junior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.) began the Gators’ sixth with a pinch-hit homer to left for his first career hit to finalize the margin at 15-2.

 

The Orange and Blue held a commanding 18-4 advantage in hits and swiped five bases, bringing the club’s total to 17 thefts in four games. Freshman right-hander Travis Lawler (College Station, Texas) (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his first start in the nightcap against EMU freshman RHP Jordan Goldschmidt (0-0, 18.00 ERA).          

 

Game Notes

  • Florida has scored in the first inning three consecutive outings.
  • The five runs in the second and fifth frames matched the squad’s season high – set in the second inning against Siena on opening night, Feb. 22.
  • The Gators have belted grand slams in their last two games, as Josh Adams turned the trick in the third inning on Sunday against Siena.
  • Stephen Locke and Cody Barnes combined to issue only one walk.
  • Riley Cooper made his collegiate debut as a pinch hitter and grounded out in the sixth.
  • Of UF’s 18 hits, 13 were singles, there were two home runs, two triples and a double.
  • Eight of the Gators’ nine starters had at least one hit.
  • Matt den Dekker’s previous high of three RBI was set three times, most recently at Auburn on March 24, 2007.

 

-UF-

 

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