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Saturday April 12, 2008Keating Pitches No. 21 Baseball Past Arkansas, 6-1

Gainesville, FL -

Junior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) worked seven strong innings to help No. 21 Florida (24-11/9-5 SEC) even its weekend series against Arkansas (18-15/4-9 SEC) with a 6-1 win in front of 3,525 spectators on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.


The right-hander ran his season ledger to 6-0 by limiting the Hogs to five hits and a first-inning run and registered five strikeouts. Keating also lowered his earned run average to a team-low 2.45. Freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) went 3-for-4 and sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) added a two-run shot in the eighth and junior Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) notched his second save for the Gators.


“We have to do better with our situational hitting but I thought we did a nice job answering back after their run in the first and our pitchers did a great job of keeping us in the game,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Patrick (Keating) did a nice job getting the leadoff batter out. Any time you get the leadoff man out, the chances of them scoring drops a lot. Every time he goes out there, he gives us a chance to win because he makes big pitches when he needs to. He’s a competitor and gives his best effort every time he’s on the mound.”


“Both teams have done a nice job defensively in these first two games,” O’Sullivan continued. “I came out here today expecting a high-scoring game because of how hard the wind was blowing, but our pitching and defense kept that from happening.”


“I’m feeling really comfortable with my mechanics right now and trying not to do too much out there,” Keating said. “We have a tough part of the schedule coming up with Florida State and Kentucky so every win is really important.”


Freshman Brett Eibner poked a two-out RBI single into left field to open the scoring. Junior Logan Forsythe began the game with a base-hit up the middle but was erased at second on a fielder’s choice by senior Sean Jones. A ground ball moved Jones into scoring position and Eibner connected on a 0-2 pitch to give the Hogs a quick lead for the second-straight day.


The Gators evened the score in the bottom of the frame on a run-scoring single by Adams off junior lefty Cliff Springston (4-2). Senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) had been hit by a pitch and sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) drew a walk before Adams’ RBI through the left side. Springston had senior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven, Fla.) ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.  


A sacrifice fly by sophomore Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) in the second provided the Gators with their first lead of the series. Sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) walked to start things off and classmate Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) punched a single into left. Pisani laid down a sacrifice bunt to move his teammates over and Munroe lofted his third sac fly of the year into left for a 2-1 lead.


Bamberg delivered a two-out double in the third to put UF ahead by two runs. Adams had singled down the left-field line and Bamberg followed with a two-bagger deep to center for a 3-1 lead.


Adams roped his team-leading 15th double to start the sixth but was stranded when Springston set down Bamberg (strikeout), Pigott (ground out) and den Dekker (strikeout). The Razorbacks threatened in the seventh, as junior Ryan Cisterna singled and stole second and Forsythe walked with two down. However, Keating whiffed Jones to close the frame.


The Gators had runners on the corners with none out in the home part of the seventh but were held at bay. Pisani led off with a base-hit and took third when Munroe’s hit to second base took a bad hop for a single. Pisani was thrown out at the plate for the first out on junior Avery Barnes’ (High Springs, Fla.) fielder’s choice, Townsend’s grounder forced Munroe at third and Springston had Figueroa fly out to stem the rally.


Locke replaced Keating prior to the eighth and struck out the first two UA hitters before yielding a single to senior Jeff Nutt. The lefty had senior Aaron Murphee ground out to Townsend at third to force the runner and preserve the hosts’ lead.


A three-run outburst in the bottom of the stanza put the game out of reach, as den Dekker delivered a two-out infield RBI single and Pisani jacked his third homer of the campaign. Pigott had drawn a walk with two down and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw by Springston. den Dekker sliced a 3-2 offering into the hole to bring in his teammate with the fourth run. Sophomore Evan Cox took over for Springston (7.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 7 K, 3 BB) and den Dekker swiped both second and third base to improve to 11-for-11 on the basepaths this season. Pisani stepped to the dish and bashed a round-tripper over the left-field bleachers to finalize the 6-1 margin.   


The Gators held a 9-7 edge in hits, led by Adams (3-for-4), den Dekker (2-for-4) and Pisani (2-for-3). Cisterna and Eibner contributed two hits each for Arkansas. Florida will send freshman Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (4-2, 2.63) to the hill in tomorrow’s rubber game at 1 p.m. against UA junior right-hander Justin Wells (2-0, 4.68).     


Game Notes

  • In his five SEC starts this season, Patrick Keating is 5-0 with a 2.32 ERA.
  • 17 of Florida's 34 home runs this season have come with 2 outs.
  • Eight of freshman Josh Adams’ last 13 hits have been doubles.
  • In his last five SEC games, Adams is 9-for-19 (.474).
  • Junior Stephen Locke has thrown 7.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, lowering his ERA from 4.20 to 3.29.






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