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Tuesday April 8, 2008No. 21 Baseball Handles North Florida, 5-3

Gainesville, FL -

Sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) delivered a tie-breaking two-out RBI single in the seventh inning to lift No. 21 Florida (22-10) to a 5-3 victory over North Florida (18-14) in front of 3,153 fans on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. The Gators overcame a 3-0 deficit with three runs in the third and used Pigott’s single into left field to claim their first win in four meetings against the Ospreys.


“I was a little nervous early in the game being down by three runs, but we battled back,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “(Kyle) Mullaney battled and gave up three runs in six innings, which was important for him to do. If we had to go deep into our bullpen in the first game of the week, then that could have set the tone for the rest of the weekend. He battled and the bottom line is that giving up three runs over six innings is a quality start for anyone.” 


“This was a good win because we have been struggling a little bit recently,” Pigott said. “It was nice to come out and beat them and it was a big win for the entire team.”


“That was good for Jonathan and the best thing was that he hit a breaking ball,” O’Sullivan said. “Good things happen when players work hard and he stayed on that breaking ball and hit the ball hard on the ground. Hopefully that will be a good jump start for him.”


Senior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) threw 2.2 scoreless frames to improve to 3-1 on year, while junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) and sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) had three hits apiece for UF.


The Ospreys tallied three runs on five hits in the second off sophomore right-hander Kyle Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.). Sophomore Andrew Hannon led off with a double to left center and senior Andy Warren connected on his second homer with a two-run job into the left-field bleachers. Soon after, UNF loaded the bases on a single by senior Mike P. Smith and back-to-back one-out hits from sophomore Ryan Lowe and senior T.J. Gaudy. Mullaney struck out senior Chad Knight but then walked sophomore Preston Hale for a 3-0 UNF advantage.


Florida mounted a two-out rally in the third that yielded three runs to knot the game at 3-3. Sophomore Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) had an infield hit with one down and moved to second on a throwing error by UNF third baseman Smith. Munroe advanced on a grounder by Barnes and scored on den Dekker’s sixth two-bagger. Sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single through the right side, ending the night for freshman righty George Lott (2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R). Freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) greeted junior reliever John Frawley with his team-leading 13th double to bring in Figueroa with the tying run.


The Gators used another two-out burst in the fifth to load the bases, only to come away empty-handed. Adams and senior Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) had back-to-back singles into the outfield before senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) had a hit into the hole at shortstop to fill the sacks. Frawley had a grounder by sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) force Townsend at second base to end the frame.


In the sixth, Barnes stroked a two-out single off sophomore Tucker Pryor, stole second and took third on a throwing error by UNF catcher Lowe. den Dekker drew a four-pitch walk for Gator runners on the corners but Pryor worked out of trouble by having Figueroa’s grounder force the runner at second. 


Sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) took over for Mullaney prior to the seventh. Mullaney worked a season-high six innings, allowing 11 hits, with a career-high five strikeouts. After permitting a one-out single to senior Travis Martin, Davis was replaced by Edmondson. The righty had Hannon tap into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.


The Gators seized a 4-3 lead in the seventh on a clutch two-out single into left field by Pigott, who had been mired in a 1-for-25 slump. Barber rifled a one-out double down the right-field line and Pisani was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, setting the stage for Pigott’s base-knock.  


UF tacked on an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI single by Figueroa off junior Ty Pryor that plated Barnes. Barnes had opened the stanza with his third hit of the night and raced to third on a single into right by den Dekker. Figueroa punched a single into right for a 5-3 Florida lead before Adams flew out to right field and den Dekker was thrown out at the plate on a strong throw by Hale.


The Gators held a 15-13 edge in hits, as their top five hitters in the lineup had two apiece and were a combined 12-for-24 (.500) with four runs and four RBI. The teams will play the rubber game of their regular-season series tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. at McKethan Stadium.







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