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Tuesday May 13, 2008Baseball Overwhelms USF, 12-2

Gainesville, FL

All nine Florida starters contributed at least one hit and the Gators (31-20) used a four-run fifth and a five-run seventh inning to cruise past USF (26-25), 12-2, on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. Sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) (2-for-4) set a career high with four RBI, junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) collected three hits and sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) cranked a two-run homer in UF’s final non-conference tilt of the year as the squad banged out 17 hits. Sophomore Kyle Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-4) picked up his second win by working three innings after freshman Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) tossed four scoreless frames.


“The night was more about starting pitching for us than our bullpen,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said.  “Tommy came out and gave us a good start to the game. That gave the offense a chance to get out and get on the board and we swung the bat really well tonight.”


“Our pitchers did well,” the first-year skipper continued. “They didn’t strike out a whole lot of guys, but they put the ball in play and pitched well early in the count. Our thought process after Sunday’s game was to throw Tommy right back out there. We didn’t want him to sit on the previous game for a week and feel bad about it. His pitch count was 45 pitches and he got right into it. It was good to get him out there so that he will have some confidence going into the weekend.”


“Our bullpen did a great job in this game, coming in and throwing strikes,” Pisani said. “That saved some arms for this weekend which is really important. Before the game, the coaches changed my approach a little bit and I was working on going the other way. Their pitcher tried coming in on me with an inside fastball with two strikes and I just got my barrel out there.


“It felt good to get out there and get on the board first,” Pisani said. “That is always a good boost for our team. The coaches challenged us to keep pounding out the big innings and we were able to so that was huge tonight.”


The Gators took a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run homer by Pisani. Senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) beat out an bunt with one down, stole second and Pisani sent a 2-2 pitch from sophomore Teddy Kaufman (3-3, 3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R) into the left-field bleachers for his fourth round-tripper.


Toledo threw four scoreless innings in which he gave up a pair of singles, notched one strikeout and issued one walk. Mullaney took over in the fifth and scattered four hits over three innings, along with a run.


Florida tallied four runs on four hits in the fifth to build a 6-0 advantage. Sophomore Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) roped his first career triple off reliever redshirt freshman Matt Stull (1.0 IP, 2 H, R) to begin the frame, prompting another pitching change. Barnes (3-for-5, two runs) greeted senior David Torcise with an RBI single up the middle for a three-run margin. Barnes moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) (2-for-2) executed a hit-and-run to collect his 37th RBI. Sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) (2-for-5) followed with a single to end Torcise’s stint. Freshman Zack Pietrzak plunked freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-3) to load the bases and a passed ball by junior Trey Manz allowed McArthur to score. Sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) delivered an RBI grounder to plate Figueroa.


Senior Joey Angelberger led off the sixth with his seventh homer that cleared the wall in right center field to put the Bulls on the board.


The Gators erupted for five runs and four hits with two down in the seventh off freshman Junior Carlin, highlighted by a two-run dinger by Pigott, for a commanding 11-1 margin. Adams started the rally with a walk and den Dekker extended his hitting streak to 10 games before Townsend bashed a double to right center to bring in Adams. Pisani stroked a two-run single for his third hit and Pigott belted his second homer of the year for a 10-run cushion.


The Bulls plated an unearned run in the eighth on an RBI single by sophomore Chris Rey off sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.). The southpaw replaced Mullaney at the start of the inning. Figueroa doubled home Barnes in the home part of the stanza to finalize the 12-2 margin. Barnes had led off with his team-leading fourth triple. Florida held a 17-7 advantage in hits, with three doubles, two triples and a couple of homers.


UF will host Eastern Division rival No. 13 Vanderbilt (37-15/15-11 SEC) starting on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in its final league series. The Gators are locked into a four-way tie for fourth with Alabama, Kentucky and Ole Miss, while the Commodores are in third place. The top eight teams qualify for the 2008 SEC Tournament.   


Game Notes

·         Florida finished the regular season with a 17-7 (.708) non-conference record.

·         In his last 14 games, sophomore Matt den Dekker is 23-for-51 (.451) with 15 RBI, 12 runs, eight stolen bases, two homers and a double.

·         The Orange and Blue have scored five or more runs in 10-straight games.

·         Sophomore Jonathan Pigott’s home run in the seventh was his first since hitting a two-run shot against Miami (Fla.) on February 29th.

·         In his last eight home games, freshman Josh Adams is 14-for-28 (.500) with seven runs and six RBI.

·         Florida improves to 8-3 over USF in the last 11 meetings.







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