Tuesday March 3, 2009No. 17 Baseball Defeats Stetson, 5-2
Junior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) (2-0) worked 6.2 innings in his first start as No. 17 Florida (6-3) downed Stetson (2-7), 5-2, at Melching Field on Tuesday night. The right-hander scattered five hits, registered four strikeouts and permitted an unearned run to help the Gators snap a three-game slide. Freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) belted his first homer and matched his career-best by driving in a pair of runs, while junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) picked up his second save by recording the final four outs.
“Jeff (Barfield) gave us a solid outing tonight in tough, chilly conditions,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We were looking for someone to give us a good start and that’s exactly what he did. Jeff gives us a lot of different options in how we can use him.”
Although the Hatters had two runners in scoring position against Barfield in the first inning, the righty worked out of trouble. Junior Casey Frawley led off with a base-hit and senior Jeremy Cruz doubled down the left-field line with one down. However, Barfield answered with a strikeout and groundout.
Tucker opened the scoring with a towering home run with one down in the fourth off senior Andy Mauldin (0-1) to give the Gators a 1-0 advantage. Tucker’s first career round-tripper went deep over the fence in right field.
Senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) provided UF with a two-run lead in the fifth with a sacrifice fly to left field. Freshman Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) had opened the frame with his first career double and was moved over on a bunt by junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.).
The Gators used a sacrifice fly by Tucker, a two-out RBI single by junior Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) and capitalized on two Stetson errors in the sixth to build a 5-0 cushion. Sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) started things off with a single and senior Brandon McArthur’s (Seffner, Fla.) grounder was misplayed by freshman second baseman Mark Jones, leaving runners on the corners and resulting in a pitching change. Junior David Burns took over for Mauldin (5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 K) and surrendered a sac fly to Tucker, the initial batter he faced. With two down, Tignor came through with a base-hit to center for his first RBI of the year and Weitzel’s grounder was thrown away by Jones to bring across UF’s final run.
Stetson plated an unearned run with two down in the home part of the inning to get on the board. Mooney threw away a grounder by Frawley and the runner took second on the play. Following a groundout by freshman Alex Hudak, Cruz drove in his teammate with a ground ball for a 5-1 margin.
A two-out single by Jones and a walk to sophomore pinch hitter Sean Emory in the seventh ended the night for Barfield. Sophomore Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) came in and had sophomore Robert Crews tap out to McArthur at first to end the stanza.
The Hatters loaded the bases with one down in the eighth against Chapman, courtesy of a walk (Hudak), hit batter (Cruz) and walk (junior Aaron Crittenden). Bullock put out the fire by having freshman Nick Rickles ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Stetson closed the gap to 5-2 in the ninth on back-to-back fielding errors by Adams. The Gators return to action tomorrow when they host Florida Atlantic (7-1) at McKethan Stadium. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m.
· Florida ended a two-game losing streak to Stetson and improved to 34-21 in DeLand and 77-34 all-time against the Hatters.
· Matt den Dekker stole second base in the third inning for his 22nd straight theft.
· Jeff Barfield’s first three appearances as a Gator came out of the bullpen.
· UF turned a season-high four double plays.