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Friday March 28, 2008Six-Run 7th Carries No. 18 Baseball Over LSU, 8-5

Gainesville, FL -

No. 18 Florida (19-5/6-1 SEC) overcame a 4-2 deficit with a six-run seventh-inning to defeat LSU (15-9/2-5 SEC), 8-5, in the teams’ series opener on Friday night in front of 4,531 fans at McKethan Stadium. After the Gators had tied the game with four-straight hits off senior reliever Jared Bradford (1-3), sophomore Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) launched a three-run homer to left field to put the Orange and Blue on top. UF matched a season-high by sending 11 batters to the plate in the seventh and totaled seven hits.

 

Sophomore right-hander Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) (3-2) allowed 10 hits and four runs (two earned) over seven innings to collect the win, while senior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) notched his first save by striking out freshman Leon Landry with a pair of Tigers aboard to end the game.

 

“I thought their left-hander (Blake Martin) did a really nice job,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He kept us off-balance, and I think our swings were a little bit long but we were able to hang in there. The winning team scored more runs in one inning than the losing team scored in the entire game. We were fortunate to put up six runs in the seventh and Buddy (Munroe) came up with a big three-run homer there. I don’t care if we win 1-0 or 10-9 because every win counts.”

 

Prior to UF’s seventh turn at bat, Bradford took over for Martin, who had surrendered four hits and two runs with five strikeouts over six innings. Senior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven, Fla.) greeted the righty with his first double of the year and senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) laced a single through the right side. Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) delivered an RBI single into left field to score Bamberg and alertly moved to second on the relay for two men in scoring position before sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) tied the game with an infield hit. Munroe cleared the bases with a three-run shot over the fence in left for a 7-4 margin that ended Bradford’s time on the hill. Sophomores Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) had consecutive one-out singles off freshman Jordan Nicholson, prompting another pitching change. Figueroa stole second and an errant throw by sophomore catcher Sean Ochinko enabled Pigott to score the eighth run.

 

Down to its final three outs, LSU loaded the bases with one down. Junior Derek Helenihi singled through the left side off sophomore Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) and sophomore Blake Dean walked before a fielder’s choice by junior Matt Gaudet forced Dean at second for the first out. Sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) replaced Franklin (1.1 IP, 2 R, 1 R) and yielded an infield single to junior Matt Clark to fill the bags. Edmondson came out of the pen and had Ochinko ground out to Townsend at third, enabling Dean to come across. Although a throwing error by Townsend left runners on the corners and the Tigers trailing by three runs, Edmondson fanned Landry on three pitches to seal the victory.

 

Figueroa had belted a solo shot with two down in the first to begin the scoring. His third round-tripper marked the 13th time this season Florida has scored in the first frame and 14 of the squad’s 26 homers this year have come with two outs.

 

Gaudet evened the game in the third with a two-out single up the middle off Bullock. Sophomore Ryan Schimpf opened the stanza with a base-hit and moved over to second on a grounder by Helenihi. Gaudet stroked a 1-2 offering into center for a 1-1 score.

 

Helenihi provided the Tigers with a 3-1 lead with a bases-loaded, two-run double in the fourth. Ochinko reached on a fielding error by Figueroa and took second on Bullock’s first balk of the season. Freshman DJ LeMahieu had an infield single with two down and stole second for two runners aboard before Schimpf drew a walk. Helenihi smacked a double into left to drive in Ochinko and LeMahieu, but Schimpf was nailed at the dish on a relay from Figueroa to Munroe.

 

Bullock worked out of a jam in the fifth after the Tigers had runners on the corners with one out. Gaudet earned a free pass and took third on a single into right field by Clark. Bullock rebounded to have Ochinko fly out to shallow center field and induced a ground ball by Landry that forced Clark at second base.  

 

den Dekker pulled Florida within 3-2 in the bottom of the inning with his third homer. His one-out homer cleared the right-field fence. Clark later jacked his team-leading 11th dinger with two down in the seventh off Bullock for a two-run LSU advantage.

 

LSU out-hit Florida, 13-12, as Clark was 3-for-5 and the trio of Helenihi (2-for-5, two RBI), junior Nicholas Pontiff (2-for-4) and LeMahieu (2-for-3) registered multiple-hit outings. den Dekker went 3-for-4 with two RBI and scored twice and both Bamberg and Figueroa were 2-for-4 for UF. The teams will meet again tomorrow at 4 p.m., with junior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) (3-0, 2.92) expected to take the mound for the Gators against a pitcher to be announced.

 

Game Notes

  • The Gators improved to 16-1 at McKethan Stadium this season.
  • UF’s three homers matched a season high.
  • Florida entered the seventh inning with four hits in the game and tallied seven in the stanza.
  • Josh Edmondson picked up his first save since March 8, 2006 against UNC Greensboro.
  • Matt den Dekker matched his career high with three hits.
  • After having his 14-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday night, Avery Barnes went 0-for-4.
  • Jonathan Pigott returned to the lineup after missing two games and was 1-for-4 and scored a run.

 

-UF-

 

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