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Tuesday February 24, 2009No. 12 Baseball Blanks Eastern Michigan, 12-0

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 12 Florida (4-0) totaled season-highs in hits (17) and runs (12) to overpower Eastern Michigan (2-3), 12-0, in the opener of a two-game set at McKethan Stadium in front of 2,163 fans on Tuesday night. Redshirt freshman right-hander Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.) was masterful in his first collegiate action, scattering two hits over four innings on a pitch count to earn the victory.  

 

The quartet of freshman Will Jolin (Guilford, Conn.) (2.0 IP, 2 K, 0 H), junior Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 2 K, 0 H), junior Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 1 H) and freshman Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 1 H) also combined on the Gators’ four-hit shutout. It was the Orange and Blue’s first time holding an opponent scoreless since a 15-0 whitewash of Campbell on March 5 last season. Senior Avery Barnes (High Springs , Fla.) (3-for-4) and sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (3-for-5) led a parade of 10 different UF players who chipped in with hits.

 

I thought we did well tonight and Hampton Tignor played an excellent game behind the plate,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Avery (Barnes) and Josh (Adams) both had good games with three hits apiece and we had five players who had two hits or more. I was really impressed with (Justin) Poovey tonight. He was anxious to get out there and pitch and I thought he did a good job. It was the first time I have seen (Chas) Spottswood pitch in some time and he did well. Overall, it was a strong performance for our team.”

 

“It had been two years since I had pitched in a live game,” Poovey said. “I wanted to throw strikes and I was able to get my first college win. I felt that I could have gone a little longer; maybe I’ll pitch this weekend.”

“Tonight was a great team effort,” Barnes said. “We went out there swinging the bats and were able to put runs on the board. As long as we find a way to put a ‘W’ in the column, that’s all we need to do. Whether it’s by hitting home runs or finding other ways to score, we just want to win.”

 

The Gators grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first against Eastern Michigan freshman Justin Glover (0-1) courtesy of two-run double by senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner. Fla.). Barnes opened with a single up the middle and junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) drew a walk before McArthur smoked a one-out double into right center for his team-leading seventh RBI.

 

Florida broke the game open in the fourth by sending 11 batters to the plate and producing seven runs and seven hits to gain a 9-0 advantage. Junior Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) (2-for-4, 2 RBI) earned a free pass to start the frame, sophomore Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to seven games with a seeing-eye single through the right side of the infield and junior Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) poked a base-hit to fill the sacks with none out. Sunday’s hero, junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.), cranked a two-run double into right field to increase UF’s lead to 4-0 and prompt a pitching change. Sophomore Rob Hamly replaced Glover (3.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R) and surrendered a two-run triple to Barnes and a sacrifice fly to den Dekker to balloon the margin to 7-0. Freshman Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach , Fla.) (2-for-3) delivered a two-out, pinch-hit RBI double for his initial collegiate hit and Pisani followed with a run-scoring single for a nine-run margin.

 

UF used four-straight singles in the sixth to build a 12-run cushion. Adams led off with a single to left field, freshman Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) collected his first hit with a flare into shallow right field and Pigott collected his second RBI of the game with a base-knock into right field. Pisani stroked a single that brought across Weitzel and EMU dropped an infield fly which plated Pigott with the unearned run for a 12-0 count.

 

The Gators held a commanding 17-4 advantage in hits, including five that went for extra bases with four doubles and a triple. The teams will conclude the series tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., with Gator freshman RHP Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) (0-0, 0.00) set to make his starting debut against EMU sophomore righty Tim Combs (0-1, 6.00).

         

Game Notes

·         Kevin O’Sullivan became the first head coach in school history to start his first two seasons with a 4-0 record.

·         The Gators’ 4-0 start for the second-consecutive season marked the first time since 1991 and 1992 where UF have had back-to-back seasons winning its first four games.

·         Tonight’s fourth inning marked the first time since the second inning of a 16-7 win over Florida State on April 3, 2007, where the Gators scored seven runs in one inning.

·         The fourth stanza also marked the first time since the seventh inning of an 8-5 victory over LSU on March 28, 2008, where the Gators belted out seven hits in an inning. The LSU game was the lone time the Gators accomplished the feat last year.

·         Florida’s four starters so far this season have amassed 23.1 innings with 12 strikeouts, two walks and a 1.56 earned run average.

·         Avery Barnes has scored a run in 20 of his last 21 regular-season games. Barnes is 9-for-13 (.692) with eight runs, four RBI, two stolen bases, one home run and a triple versus Eastern Michigan. The senior recorded his first triple since May 13 versus South Florida in the bottom of the fourth and is currently on a four-game hitting streak.

·         Brandon McArthur extended his streak of reaching base safely to nine games dating back to last year. In his three career contests versus Eagles, McArthur is 4-for-8 (.500) with five RBI, five runs and three doubles.

·         UF has scored a run in its opening stanza three times in its first four games.

·         Hampton Tignor made his first start of the season behind the plate and singled in his first plate appearance in the second inning. With a 2-for-3 outing, the catcher recorded his first multi-hit game since a 2-for-3 performance May 17, 2008 versus Vanderbilt.

·         Josh Adams swiped his first stolen base of the season in the bottom of the third and doubled for the first time this year in the fourth.

·         Mike Mooney recorded his first career double in the bottom of the fourth, when he knocked a sharp liner to right.

·         Daniel Pigott notched his first-career hit with an RBI double to right in the fourth. Older brother Jonathan Pigott collected his first single of the season in the eighth. Jerico Weitzel also collected his first career hit in the sixth with a sharp single to right field.

·         Florida has yet to hit a home run despite its perfect start.

 

-UF-

 

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