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Wednesday May 7, 2008No. 22 Baseball Holds Off Bethune-Cookman, 11-10

Gainesville, FL

Florida sophomore right-hander Kyle Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) threw five scoreless innings to notch his first victory and the No. 22 Gators (29-18) withstood a five-run ninth inning for an 11-10 win over Bethune-Cookman (33-20) on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. Trailing 11-1, the Wildcats scored three runs in the seventh, one in the eighth and used a grand slam by senior Osvaldo Torres in the ninth to pull to within a run. The triumph matched UF’s win total from the 2007 campaign, when the squad finished 29-30, and improved the Orange and Blue to 21-0 all-time against Bethune-Cookman. 


“It was one of those nights where we were hoping to get a good lead and be able to use a few of the guys we haven’t been able to use in awhile to rest our pen,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Ultimately, we were able to do that. The end result was exactly what we wanted - we got the win. We didn’t want it to be that close at the end but the bottom line is that we had a chance to rest (Tommy) Toledo, (Tony) Davis, and a couple of the guys who have been pitching quite a lot.”


“Overall, we accomplished what we wanted to,” O’Sullivan continued. “We didn’t want it to be this close, but this time of year a win’s a win. (Kyle) Mullaney commanded the fastball well and had some good damage control.”


Florida jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third off junior Christopher Chapman (2-3) courtesy of three hits and an error. Sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) (2-for-3, three runs) led off with a single into left, moved to second on a wild pitch and sophomore Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) (2-for-2, two runs) walked. Junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) tapped the ball back to Chapman but the pitcher had an errant throw trying to force Pisani at third that allowed the runner to score. Freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-4) stroked an RBI single into left to bring across Tignor and sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) followed with a fielder’s choice that plated Barnes.  


Tignor delivered a run-scoring single in the fourth that put the Gators up by four runs. Pisani collected his second hit with one down, went to second on a wild pitch and came home on Tignor’s knock up the middle. Chapman worked 3.1 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs (two earned), before being replaced by freshman Roman Lancara. 


A wild pitch by Lancara allowed Figueroa to scamper home in the fifth with another run. Figueroa had started the frame with a walk, swiped second and advanced to third on a fly out by senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.).


Mullaney (1-4) departed after five shutout innings in which he permitted three hits, with three walks and three strikeouts. Senior Neal Jones cranked his fourth homer of the year with two down in the sixth off sophomore Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) to narrow the gap to 5-1.


The Gators countered with six runs on four hits in the home part of the sixth to build an 11-1 margin. Sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) opened with a base-hit into right, Pisani was hit by a pitch and Tignor singled to fill the sacks with none out. Pigott scored on a passed ball and a walk to Barnes re-loaded the sacks and prompted a pitching change. Junior Concepcion Guzman took over for Lancara (1.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R) and issued back-to-back one-out walks to Figueroa and McArthur for an 8-1 score. Townsend smacked an infield hit to collect an RBI and sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) greeted freshman reliever Joseph Munoz with a two-run single to give Florida a 10-run bulge.


Freshman Adam Allen (Milton, Fla.) made his collegiate debut in the seventh and surrendered three runs for an 11-4 count. Sophomore Justin Hoyte poked a one-out single and junior Patrick Jones was hit by a pitch before Allen committed a balk to advance the runners. Junior Jose Ortiz roped a two-run single into right, stole second and later scored on a wild pitch by the right-hander. Torres bashed a solo shot off junior Michael Branham (Tampa, Fla.) in the eighth to close B-CU’s gap to 11-5.


Down to their final three outs, the visitors loaded the bases on three-consecutive singles against junior J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, Fla.) to begin the stanza. Senior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) was summoned from the bullpen and had a grounder by junior Mark Brooks force a runner at third as Hoyte came across. Moments later, Torres stepped to the plate and launched his second four-bagger of the night to clear the bases. It was his team-leading 12th homer. Edmondson retired the next two Wildcats to close the game. Bethune-Cookman out-hit the Gators by a 13-11 margin, led by a 3-for-4 effort by Hoyte. Four different Florida players chipped in with two hits apiece: Adams, Pisani, Tignor and senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.).


Florida heads to Tuscaloosa for a weekend series at Western Division rival Alabama (28-22/12-12 SEC). The Gators are currently fifth in the race for the SEC Tournament, while the Crimson Tide is right behind in sixth.


Game Notes

·         In his last seven games, sophomore Cole Figueroa is 10-for-24 (.417) with eight runs and eight RBI.

·         Florida has outscored its opponents, 43-16, in the 4th inning this season.

·         UF received a decision from its starting pitcher for the first time since April 27 against Georgia.

·         The Gators have registered double-digit hit totals in five-consecutive contests.

·         Florida improved to 10-4 (.714) in mid-week games and now holds a 5-2 record on Wednesdays.

·         Florida captured its first one-run game since a 3-2 victory over North Florida on April 9.







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