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Saturday March 8, 2008Baseball Drops Opener To Brown, 11-2

Gainesville, FL -

Sophomore Will Weidig (1-1) went eight strong innings as Brown (3-2) captured the first game of a doubleheader against Florida (8-3) with an 11-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. The right-hander from Katy, Texas, held the Gators scoreless until the sixth inning and the Bears used a three-run homer in the sixth by sophomore Nick Puńal (1-for-5) and a four-run eighth to take the opener of the three-game set. Weidig registered seven strikeouts, scattered five hits and permitted two walks for the defending Ivy League champions.    


The Bears seized a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a one-out single by senior Conor Reardon (2-for-3) off sophomore Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) (1-2). Senior Ryan Murphy (2-for-5, two runs) opened the frame with a bunt single, moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a passed ball. Reardon sliced a base-hit through the right side of the infield to score his teammate and snap UF’s string of 20.1 scoreless innings before Bullock induced an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.


Brown increased its advantage to 2-0 the next inning on a double to left by senior J.J. Eno. Freshman Ryan Zrenda had reached on a one-out error by sophomore shortstop Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Eno roped a 0-1 offering from Bullock over junior left fielder Avery Barnes’ (High Springs, Fla.) head for his fourth RBI.


Murphy prevented the Gators from getting on the board in the bottom of the fifth when he robbed sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) of a potential homer with a leaping grab at the wall in left field.


Puńal cranked a three-run shot with two down in the sixth to give the Bears a 5-0 cushion. Murphy opened the stanza with an infield hit and was sacrificed to second by junior Matt Nuzzo. Bullock issued a walk to Reardon and then caught junior Robert Papenhause looking on strikes for his fifth K. Puńal launched the right-hander’s next offering just out of Barnes’ reach for his first round-tripper of the year.


The Gators used a sacrifice fly by Figueroa and an RBI single by sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) to close the gap to 5-2 in the home part of the frame. Barnes connected on his second double of the afternoon with one down and freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) followed with a single for runners on the corners. Soon after, Figueroa lofted his third sac fly to straightaway center field for his team-leading 19th RBI. After a walk to senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.), den Dekker rifled a single into left on a 3-2 pitch from Weidig to drive in Adams. The hurler worked out of a further trouble by having sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) line out to third to strand the two runners.


Junior J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, Fla.) replaced Bullock (6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 5 K, 1 BB) prior to seventh and plunked Eno and junior Steve Daniels with one down. The righty had Murphy ground into a 4-6-3 double play to keep UF down by three.


Brown tacked on four insurance runs on three hits and two errors in the eighth to build a 9-2 lead. The Bears loaded the bases with none out, as Nuzzo reached on a throwing error by Figueroa and the duo of Reardon and Papenhause singled. Sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen for LaCoste (1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER) and uncorked a wild pitch to allow Nuzzo to score. After having Puńal ground out, Davis walked Zrena intentionally to fill the sacks. Freshman Matt Colantonio poked an infield single to score sophomore pinch runner Chris Tanabe and a fielder’s choice by Eno brought in Papenhause. A throwing miscue by Figueroa on the play also enabled Zrenda to come in for a seven-run lead for the visitors.


The Bears plated two more runs on three hits in the ninth off freshman reliever Cody Barnes (San Mateo, Fla.). Nuzzo had a one-out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Tanabe earned a free pass. Papenhause delivered an RBI base-knock up the middle and Zrenda later added a run-scoring single to finalize the 11-2 margin.


Brown out-hit the Gators by a 12-6 count, as three players turned in multiple-hit outings. For Florida, Avery Barnes was 2-for-4 and Pigott extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a ninth-inning double off senior Anthony Vita (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K). Junior RHP Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) (1-0, 0.96) will start game two of the twinbill against Brown senior RHP Alex Silverman (1-0, 2.57).


Game Notes

  • Cole Figueroa set a single-season high with his eighth stolen base in the first inning.
  • Florida’s streak of scoring in the first frame during six-straight home games was snapped.
  • The defeat was UF’s first at McKethan Stadium this season after seven victories.
  • Billy Bullock matched his season high of six innings pitched but suffered his second loss in a row.
  • The win ended a three-game losing streak by the Bears against the Gators in the all-time series.




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