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Sunday March 16, 2008Baseball Completes Sweep Of Auburn, 6-2

Gainesville, FL -

Freshman right-hander Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) threw six scoreless innings as Florida (14-3/3-0 SEC) completed a weekend sweep of Auburn (11-8/0-3 SEC) with a 6-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium to raise its winning streak to a season-high six games. It was the fourth time in the last five years that the Gators have taken all three meetings from the Tigers. UF’s 3-0 start to SEC play also marks the first time since 2002 that the Orange and Blue has swept its opening league series.

 

Toledo improved to 3-0 by limiting AU to two hits in his longest stint of the campaign, while freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) completed a tremendous series with a 2-for-3 effort. Over the three games, he batted .727 (8-for-11) with six RBI, four runs, three doubles, two stolen bases, two walks and a homer.   

 

“We played well this weekend,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Any time we can win a series, let alone sweep, I think it’s exciting. Auburn is a very talented club and we were fortunate to win all three games. This whole league is a battle and every weekend is tough. I think that we needed to take care of our home-field advantage, and we did that.”

 

“Tommy (Toledo) made pitches when he needed to and he pushed the ball into play,” O’Sullivan said. “When he is in a jam, he is always one pitch away from getting out of it with the sinker. He’s given us four quality starts now. What else can you ask for from a freshman?”

Adams gave the Gators a 1-0 lead in the first with a two-out RBI single off freshman Cory Luckie (2-2). Junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) raised his hitting streak to nine games with a leadoff single and swiped his eighth base with one down. Barnes moved to third on a grounder by sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) and came home on Adams’ seventh hit of the series.

 

The Tigers threatened in the third but came away empty-handed against Toledo. Junior Ryan Jenkins drew a walk to start things off and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by junior Matt Hall. Freshman Justin Hargett pushed Jenkins to third with a groundout before Toledo had junior Mike Bianucci fly out to right field.  

 

AU loaded the bases with two down in the fourth, as a result of walks to freshmen Kevin Patterson and David Cunningham and an infield single by junior Ben Jones. Toledo worked out of trouble by having Jenkins ground out to Adams at second base. 

 

Florida seized a 4-0 advantage in the bottom of the frame on an RBI double by sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.), a run-scoring single by sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) and a dropped pop-up. Adams opened the stanza with his fifth double and advanced on senior Brandon McArthur’s (Seffner, Fla.) grounder to shortstop. With two out, Pigott sliced a two-bagger down the left-field line to plate Adams and scored on Pisani’s base-knock into left field. Soon after, Pisani stole second base and came across when sophomore Buddy Munroe’s (Miami, Fla.) infield fly was misplayed by second baseman Hargett.

 

The Gators’ bid for more runs in the fifth was denied when sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was cut down at the plate and Adams was thrown out trying to get back to third base. den Dekker reached on a three-base error by right fielder Bianucci to begin the inning and could not advance home on Figueroa’s grounder. Junior Evan Crawford replaced Luckie (4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 K) and induced a grounder by Adams that Hall scooped up at shortstop and fired to Jenkins to nail den Dekker at the dish. McArthur smacked a double into right but Adams was caught between third base and home and was erased to keep the score 4-0.   

 

Sophomore Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) took over for Toledo prior to the seventh and was victimized by a pair of Texas Leaguers by Jenkins and Hargett that landed in left field. However, the righty stranded the runners on the corners by having rookie Brian Fletcher pop up. den Dekker boosted his hitting streak to 11 games in the home part of the frame and moved into scoring position on a throwing error by Crawford. After Figueroa earned a free pass, junior Bryan Woodall came out of the bullpen and walked Adams to fill the sacks. McArthur came through with a two-run single into right center for a 6-0 margin.

 

The Tigers averted the shutout in the ninth on a two-out error that scored a pair of runs. Franklin set down the first two batters before yielding consecutive singles to Hargett and Fletcher and committing a balk. Morris sent a high chopper down the first-base line that McArthur couldn’t handle, finalizing the margin at 6-2. Franklin picked up his first career save by working three innings in which he allowed five hits and the two unearned runs.

    

Adams and McArthur (2-for-4) registered multiple-hit outings for Florida, while Hargett and Morris had two hits apiece for the Tigers. Figueroa went 0-for-3 to see his 10-game hitting streak come to an end. The Gators return to action on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. by hosting Florida State (16-1/6-0 ACC) in the first of three regular-season meetings.

 

Game Notes

  • Today marked the first time this season where Florida used the same lineup in back-to-back games.
  • The sweep was the Gators’ first in SEC play since taking three at Georgia between March 30-April 1, 2007.
  • Florida is now 13-2 in its last 15 games against Auburn.
  • The 2008 squad matched the 2002 club for the program’s best start this decade (14-3).
  • The 11 runs allowed in the series was a season-low for Florida in a three-game set. The last time UF gave up less than 11 runs in a series was eight against Georgia last year.
  • The Gators were 3-for-4 on the basepaths this afternoon and have already matched last season’s total of 39 stolen bases.

 

-UF-

 

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