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Sunday April 6, 2008Triple Play Helps Baseball Take Finale At UT, 7-2

Knoxville, TN -

Junior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) improved to 5-0 as No. 13 Florida (21-10/8-4 SEC) salvaged the finale of its series at Tennessee (19-11/7-5 SEC) with a 7-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Down by four runs, the Vols had the bases full in the fifth with none out and the Gators turned a 4-6-3 triple play.


Junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) was 3-for-3 with a single, double and homer and scored three times and sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) drove in two runs as the Gators ended a five-game slide. The contest was shortened to seven innings because of the league’s travel policy.


The Gators got off to a quick start with two runs in the first inning against sophomore Steve Crnkovich (4-3). Barnes drew a leadoff walk and scored on sophomore Matt den Dekker’s (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) triple down the right-field line. Figueroa followed with his sixth sacrifice fly of the season to left for a 2-0 lead.  


In the bottom of the frame, Tennessee answered with a run of its own on a bases-loaded infield hit by sophomore Jeff Lockwood to cut the deficit in half. The Vols used consecutive two-out singles off Keating by sophomore Yan Gomes, senior Shawn Griffin and freshman Josh Liles to fill the sacks. Lockwood hit a shot off the pitcher’s leg to drive in Gomes but Keating worked out of further trouble by having freshman P.J. Polk’s grounder force Lockwood at second. 


Florida extended its lead to 4-1 in the third courtesy of an RBI double by Figueroa and a wild pitch by junior Ty’Relle Harris. Barnes had led off with a single up the middle, advanced to second on a wild pitch and taken third on a groundout by den Dekker. Figueroa’s ninth two-bagger ended the afternoon for Crnkovich (2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R). Junior Aaron Everett plunked freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) and the Gators were able to have runners on second and third after a flyout by senior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven, Fla.) and a Vol throwing error on the relay throw. As Everett was pitching to senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.), he was injured and had to leave the game. On ball four to Townsend, Harris uncorked an errant pitch that enabled Figueroa to come across with the fourth run.


Griffin began the home part of the stanza with his fifth homer to close the gap to 4-2. Back-to-back one-out singles by Lockwood and Polk put the Vols in business, only to have Keating work out of the jam by having junior Cody Brown line into an inning-ending double play.


Barnes blasted his second homer of the campaign with two down in the fourth to help the visitors re-claim a three-run lead. Three of his five career round-trippers have come against Tennessee. Bamberg later lofted a sac fly to center in the fifth, bringing in Figueroa, to increase UF’s lead to 6-2.


After yielding a leadoff single to Gomes in the fifth, Keating (4.0 IP, 10 H, 2 R) was replaced by sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.). The southpaw surrendered a single to the lone batter he faced, Griffin, before junior Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) was summoned from the pen. The lefty issued a walk to Liles to load the bases with none out and had Lockwood line into a 4-6-3 inning-ending triple play. It was the second time Florida turned a triple play this season.  


Consecutive singles by Pisani and junior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.) prompted a pitching change, as Lockwood took over for Harris (2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 5 K) in the sixth. Barnes’ third-straight hit, an RBI double, completed the scoring at 7-2. The Vols held an 11-10 edge in hits, while the trio of Barnes (3-for-3), Figueroa (2-for-3) and Pisani (2-for-3) turned in multiple-hit efforts for the Gators. Locke collected his first career save with three scoreless and hitless innings of work.  


UF will resume action on Tuesday night by hosting North Florida (17-13/8-9 Atlantic Sun) at 6:30 p.m. in the opener of a two-game set at McKethan Stadium. The Opreys posted an 11-10 win in 10 innings last Wednesday.




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