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Tuesday March 4, 2008Balanced Offense Lifts Baseball Over Camels, 15-3

Gainesville, FL -

After spotting Campbell an early 3-0 lead, Florida (7-2) reeled off 15 unanswered runs to hand the Fighting Camels (3-4) a 15-3 loss on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium in the opener of a two-game series. All nine Gator starters contributed at least one hit to the squad’s 17-hit outburst, with junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) a perfect 3-for-3 with four runs and starting pitcher sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI. The Orange and Blue notched season-high in doubles (five) and sacrifice flies (three) and also turned a season-best five double plays without committing any errors.

 

Senior reliever Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) (1-0) matched a career high with 4.1 innings (2 H, 3 K) for his first victory since March 24, 2007 at Auburn, while the UF bullpen tossed 6.1 scoreless innings. The start of the contest was delayed for 26 minutes due to steady rains in the area.

 

Campbell sent seven batters to the plate against den Dekker in the top of the first and plated three runs on three hits. Sophomore Zach Johnson led off with a single to right field and advanced to second on a passed ball. Junior Brian Gana walked with one down and junior Ryan Hamme was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After senior Mike Causey lofted a sacrifice fly to center, senior Brandon Scott (3-for-3) and freshman Ellis Lowe delivered consecutive run-scoring singles for a 3-0 lead. Scott was thrown out at the plate as part of an attempted double steal to end the frame.

 

In the bottom of the inning, the Gators responded with two runs off sophomore Cody Raisch (0-1). Barnes started things off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a single by den Dekker. Sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) (1-for-4, four RBI) collected his team-leading 14th RBI with a fly ball to center and den Dekker moved into scoring position with his fifth theft before senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) (2-for-4, two RBI, two runs) earned a free pass. Freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-4, three RBI) flew out for runners on the corners and sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 13 games dating back to last season with an RBI single into left field for a 3-2 score.

 

Figueroa moved UF in front with a two-out, two-run double off sophomore reliever Hunter Ford in the second and McArthur followed with a triple for a 5-3 lead. Previously, sophomore Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) and Barnes delivered back-to-back singles to end the night for Raisch (1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R). Ford had den Dekker fly out to center for the second out and appeared to have picked Barnes off first base but a mental mistake on the relay enabled the hosts to have two men in scoring position. Figueroa’s third two-bagger of the year made it three-consecutive multiple-RBI outings for the sophomore and McArthur plated his teammate with his second triple down the right-field line.

   

The Fighting Camels loaded the sacks again in the third but came away empty-handed. Junior Carlton Floyd walked and Gana singled before Hamme’s grounder resulted in a 5-4-3 double play because of runner interference. Edmondson came out of the bullpen for den Dekker (2.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K), walked Causey, uncorked a wild pitch to push Floyd to third and then walked Scott. The righty worked out of the jam by fanning Lowe. Sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) expanded the Gators’ lead to 6-3 in the home part of the inning with a solo shot to left field, his first round-tripper since Feb. 13, 2007 against Florida A&M.

 

Helped by a couple of Camel errors, UF tacked on three more runs in the fourth to build a 9-3 advantage. Barnes led off with a base-hit to left and came all the way around to score on den Dekker’s first double of the year. A throwing error by third baseman Hamme on McArthur’s grounder left two Gators in scoring position and Adams notched his first sac fly to bring home den Dekker. Another throwing miscue by Hamme on Pigott’s grounder scored McArthur.   

 

Florida tallied six runs on three hits, three walks and a hit batter in the seventh to take a commanding 15-3 lead. The six runs were the most that the club has plated in a stanza this season. Senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) drew a leadoff walk, Pisani singled and junior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.) was hit by a pitch from sophomore Austin Harris (0.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R) to fill the sacks. Barnes picked up his fourth RBI of ’08 with a free pass and senior Matt Martinez was summoned from the pen. The lefty walked den Dekker and Figueroa’s sac fly brought in Foster with the 12th run. With runners on the corners, McArthur roped a two-run double into the gap in left center and Adams followed with a two-run single to right to balloon the margin to 15-3.

 

The hosts held a 17-8 edge in hits, with five doubles, a triple and a homer. Five players turned in multiple-hit outings and four contributed a pair of RBI or more. The Gators and Fighting Camels will wrap up the set at 4 p.m. tomorrow. UF will send freshman RHP Travis Lawler (College Station, Texas) (0-0, 12.27 ERA) to the hill against a Campbell pitcher to be announced.   

 

Game Notes

·         The Gators scored in the first inning for the fifth-straight home game.

·         UF’s Buddy Munroe threw out Graham Fronk attempting to steal in the second inning for the catcher’s first runner caught this season.

·         Sophomore Cole Figueroa has 11 RBI in his last three games.

·         Sophomore Tony Davis made his team-leading seventh appearance and worked a scoreless eighth before giving way to classmate Billy Bullock for the ninth.

·         Tonight was the first meeting between the programs on the diamond since Florida posted a 13-4 win on March 4, 1997.

 

-UF-

 

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