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Sunday March 2, 2008Grand Slam Powers Baseball Past No. 8 Miami, 6-2

Coral Gables, FL -

Florida sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) belted his second career grand slam in the eighth inning to snap a 2-2 tie and lift the Gators (6-2) to a 6-2 victory over No. 8 Miami (5-1) on Sunday afternoon before another sellout crowd at Mark Light Field. With the sacks full and one down, Figueroa sent a 2-1 pitch from junior reliever P.J. Fisher over the wall in left for his first round-tripper of the season. Sophomore Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) (1-0) threw two scoreless innings to record his first collegiate win, while junior Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) yielded one hit over the final two frames without allowing a run to help UF salvage the weekend finale. The Hurricanes had captured the first two games of the series, 8-4 and 8-5.

 

With the contest tied in the eighth, senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) legged out a leadoff bunt off sophomore Alex Koronis (0-1), who had struck out the side in the seventh after taking over for freshman Chris Hernandez (6.0 IP, 2 H, 7 K). Sophomore Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) advanced his teammate into scoring position with a sac bunt and prompted a pitching change. With Fisher now on the hill, sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) reached on sophomore third baseman Mark Sobolewski’s second error of the day and freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) followed with another bunt single to load the bases with one down and set the stage for Figueroa’s heroics.

 

The Hurricanes seemed poised to open the scoring in the first inning against freshman right-hander Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) with runners on the corners and one down. Junior Blake Tekotte drew a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by sophomore catcher Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.). Following a walk to junior Yonder Alonso, Toledo had Sobolewski ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

 

A two-out error by UM in the second on a ball hit by sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) to third base enabled senior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven, Fla.) to score from second with the game’s initial run. Bamberg had drawn a walk with one down and moved to second on a wild pitch by Hernandez. Toledo worked out of another jam in the bottom of the frame after yielding a leadoff walk to freshman Joey Terdoslavich and a base-hit into left by junior Dave DiNatale. The righty had junior Adan Severino fly out and induced a ground ball from sophomore Ryan Jackson that third baseman Townsend converted into a double play.

 

Tekotte evened the score in the third on his first homer of the campaign, a shot with one down that cleared the 330-foot mark in right field. Miami threatened again in the fifth, as Severino poked a leadoff single and was sacrificed to second by Jackson. A flyout to right by Yasmani Grandal pushed his teammate to third before Toledo scooped up Tekotte’s grounder and threw over to senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) to retire the side.  

 

After being held hitless into the sixth by Hernandez, the Gators used an RBI double into the left-field corner by Adams to take a 2-1 lead. den Dekker had come through with UF’s first hit with a one-out infield single to second base and scored all the way from first on Adams’ second two-bagger.

 

Miami knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the frame on an RBI grounder by Terdoslavich. Junior Jemile Weeks started things off with a double off the wall in right center to end the afternoon for Toledo, who scattered four hits, gave up two runs, walked three and collected a pair of strikeouts over five innings. Sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) walked the lone batter he faced, Alonso, and was replaced by Franklin. The Hurricanes executed a double steal for runners on second and third and Franklin responded with a strikeout of Sobolewski on a 3-2 pitch. Terdoslavich worked the count to 3-2 and grounded out to McArthur to bring in Weeks with the tying run. Franklin kept the affair deadlocked by having last night’s hero, DiNatale, ground out to Pisani.

 

UF held a slim 6-5 advantage in hits, with Adams going 2-for-4, and turned a season-high three double plays. The Gators will begin a season-high 10-game homestand at McKethan Stadium on Tuesday when they host Campbell (3-3) at 6:30 p.m. in the opener of a two-game series.  

 

Game Notes

  • Miami’s pitchers totaled 12 strikeouts this afternoon for a total of 35 K on the weekend.
  • Stephen Locke made his first relief appearance since May 1, 2005 against Tennessee.
  • Cole Figueroa (3-for-13, .231) drove in seven of the Gators’ 15 runs over the three games.
  • Jon Townsend led the Gators with a .375 (3-for-8) average during the series.

 

-UF-

 

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