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Saturday March 22, 2008Baseball Evens Series By Holding Off No. 8 UM, 6-4

Oxford, MS -

Florida sophomore Kyle Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play as the Gators (16-4/4-1 SEC) squared their weekend series at eighth-ranked Ole Miss (15-7/3-2 SEC) with a 6-4 victory on Saturday afternoon at Oxford-University Stadium at Swayze Field. With two runners aboard and the Rebels looking to duplicate Friday night’s come-from-behind win in the ninth, Mullaney had junior Cody Overbeck ground out to sophomore shortstop Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.), who was able to turn UF’s second double play of the contest to preserve the triumph for junior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.). Keating (3-0) yielded five hits and three runs over six innings, while Mullaney converted his third save opportunity.


The Gators burst out of the gates with four runs on five hits against Rebel junior right-hander Cody Satterwhite (2-1) in the first inning. Junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) led off with a single into right field to extend his hitting streak to 12 games and moved to second on a grounder by sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). A base-hit into left by Figueroa gave the visitors runners on the corners and senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) singled through the right side to open the scoring. Sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) cranked Satterwhite’s next pitch to left center for his sixth double of the year, driving in both of his teammates, for a 3-0 cushion. With Pigott taking third on the relay throw, senior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven, Fla.) collected his second RBI of the year with a single to give UF a 4-0 lead but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double.


Ole Miss used a sacrifice fly by junior Logan Power off Keating in the third to get on the scoreboard. Senior Fuller Smith opened the frame with a single into right and advanced to second on a balk. Figueroa committed a throwing error to allow Overbeck to reach base, leaving the Rebels with two men aboard, and Power flew out to den Dekker for a 4-1 margin.


den Dekker delivered his first sacrifice fly of the campaign to increase Florida’s advantage to 5-1 in the fifth. Sophomore Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) reached on a throwing error by junior catcher Brett Basham, took second on a wild pitch and was moved over to third on a bunt by Barnes. Soon after, den Dekker lofted a fly ball into left that plated Munroe.


In the home part of the stanza, redshirt freshman Matt Smith clubbed his sixth homer with two down to bring Ole Miss within 5-3. Overbeck was hit by a pitch with one down and advanced on a grounder by Power. Smith stepped to the plate and launched a dinger to straightaway center field to reduce the hosts’ deficit to two runs. 


The Gators’ bid for another run in the sixth fell by the wayside when Pigott was cut down at the plate to end the inning. With two down, Pigott singled and Bamberg drew a walk. With a 3-0 count on McArthur, Satterwhite had an apparent blister and was replaced by sophomore Rory McKean. Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) beat out an infield hit just beyond second base but Pigott was erased on a perfect strike from sophomore second baseman Zach Miller to Basham.


Figueroa came through with a clutch two-out, two-strike RBI single in the seventh to bring UF’s lead to 6-3. Munroe had started things off with a single but was forced at second on Barnes’ failed sacrifice bunt attempt. Barnes grabbed the team lead in stolen bases with his 10th theft and came around on Figueroa’s second hit of the afternoon into left field. 


The Rebels pulled within 6-4 in the seventh and had runners on the corners with one down, only to be denied when senior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) had Matt Smith hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double. Junior Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) had taken over for Keating prior to seventh and retired the first batter he faced before running into trouble. Senior Kyle Mills had a pinch-hit single with one down and Overbeck followed with an infield single to increase his hitting streak to 22 games. Power drove in junior pinch runner Michael Hubbard for a 6-4 margin and knocked Locke from the ballgame. Edmondson came out of the pen and coaxed a ground ball from Smith that Figueroa scooped up and turned two to preserve the Gators’ lead.


Bamberg opened the ninth with his career-best third hit and the Rebels decided to bring in junior Scott Bittle for McKean (2.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R). Freshman pinch runner Chris Freshcorn (Tampa, Fla.) was caught in a rundown and the reliever fanned McArthur and Munroe to send Ole Miss to the bottom frame down by two.


Sophomore Cullan Kight began the decisive stanza with a pinch-hit single into right field off Edmondson and O’Sullivan summoned sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) to the mound. The lefty walked sophomore Jordan Henry to advance junior pinch runner Sean Stuyverson but then rebounded to set down Hubbard looking on strikes. Mullaney came to the rescue by having Overback bounce a 2-1 offering to Figueroa to end the game and snuff out a potential rally.


Led by Bamberg (3-for-3) and two apiece from Figueroa and Pigott, UF held an 11-9 advantage in hits. However, den Dekker’s 12-game hitting streak was ended with an 0-for-3 performance. Basham and Power were 2-for-3 for Ole Miss and each squad committed two errors. Freshman righty Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (3-0, 2.14) will start tomorrow’s rubber game at 1 p.m. against UM sophomore left-hander Nathan Baker (1-2, 4.19).   



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