Friday March 6, 2009No. 17 Baseball Doubles Up Duquesne, 10-5
Sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) went 4-for-5 with a pair of home runs and a season-high four RBI as No. 17 Florida (7-4) claimed the opener of its weekend series with a 10-5 victory over Duquesne (0-9) on Friday night in front of 2,351 fans at McKethan Stadium. Junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) connected on a three-run homer and freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) poked two doubles as part of a 12-hit Gator offensive output.
“Josh had a really good night,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He had four hits, swung the bat well and put a couple of great swings on some balls. He gave us a lift in the fifth inning and got us the lead.”
den Dekker (2-for-2) provided the Gators with a 3-0 lead in the first inning with his second homer of the season. Senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) (2-for-4, three runs) and Adams started the frame with singles and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by senior Gary Pierpont (0-3). den Dekker cranked a 3-1 pitch over the fence in left for his second-straight game with a three-run blast.
Duquesne answered with a pair of two-run shots by senior Bill Torre and freshman Matt Carson in the second off freshman Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) to take a 4-3 lead. Sophomore Andrew Heck led off with an infield hit and Torre followed with a four-bagger to left field. Junior Mark Tracy delivered a one-out double and Carson socked a two-run dinger with two down to move the Dukes in front.
Florida countered with four-consecutive two-out hits in the bottom of the stanza to grab a 5-4 advantage. Making his first career start, freshman Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) (1-for-4) laced a triple to straightaway center field and Barnes followed with his second triple to tie the game. Adams had an RBI single through the left side to drive in Barnes with the go-ahead tally.
DU freshman Derrik Zeroski tied the game with an RBI single in the fifth that scored Carson, who had drawn a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a bunt by senior Anthony Manley (3-for-4). Carson took third on an errant pickoff throw by Panteloidis and came home on a base-knock into center.
In the home part of the inning, the Gators reclaimed the lead on Adams’ first round-tripper of the season into the left-field bleachers. Pierpont (4.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 3 K) was replaced by junior Lawrence Anderson.
“As a team, we had to take a step back after the last week,” Adams said. “Yesterday was one of the best practices that we have had in awhile. We had a certain swagger about us, that hasn’t been with us at times this year. It was good to come out and play well tonight.”
Junior Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) made his first appearance of ’09 by taking over for Panteliodis (2-1), who allowed eight hits and five runs (four earned) with two strikeouts and a walk over five innings. The righty threw two scoreless innings and permitted one hit in his first outing since May 21, 2008 in the SEC Tournament against Vanderbilt.
“It was good to get Clint (Franklin) back out there,” O’Sullivan acknowledged. “It’s been awhile since he’s pitched and he had a good year last spring for us. I thought Greg (Larson) did a real nice job there in the end as well.”
Florida plated three runs with two down in the sixth, highlighted by Adams’ second blast of the night, to build a 9-5 lead. Freshman Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) earned a free pass to start things off, took second on a balk and went to third on a grounder by junior Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.). Barnes drew a two-out walk and senior catcher Mike Carroll’s throw to second sailed into the outfield to enable Weitzel to score. Adams then stepped to the dish and belted Anderson’s 3-2 offering out of the yard for his second multiple-homer effort, first since Feb. 24, 2008 against Siena.
Junior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) extended UF’s lead to 10-5 with a single in the seventh that brought across Tucker, who had registered his second double of the night to put himself in scoring position. Freshman Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) kept the Dukes off the board in the eighth and ninth to preserve the five-run triumph.
The Gators and Dukes will resume action tomorrow at noon, when freshman left-hander Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) (0-1, 3.60) takes the hill against senior RHP Ryan Juran (0-2, 7.50).
· Alex Panteliodis’ three pickoffs tonight tied the most by a Gator pitcher in a season since Keith Ramsey had five in the 2002 campaign.
· The come-from-behind victory was the fourth of the year for the Gators.
· Matt den Dekker became the first Gator to hit a three-run homer in back-to-back games since Matt LaPorta cranked two against Georgia on April 29-April 30, 2006. The dinger was only the second one to opposite field in the center fielder’s career.
· Brandon McArthur made his first start at third base since the 2007 season opener against VMI on Feb. 9, 2007. McArthur’s streak of reaching base safely in 15-straight games dating back to last year ended with an 0-for-4 performance
· Josh Adams’ two home runs were his first two of the season and tied a career high that the slugger set on Feb. 24, 2008 versus Siena. The two dingers marked the first time since Cole Figueroa on March 30, 2008 versus LSU where a Gator slugger knocked two out. Adams also crossed the plate a career-high three times and made his first career start at shortstop.
· Tonight marked the second meeting ever between the Gators and the Dukes. In their previous matchup, Florida defeated Duquesne by a score of 13-0 on March 7, 1995, in Gainesville.
· This evening’s win gives the Gators a 38-4 (.905) winning percentage all-time versus the Atlantic 10 Conference.
· Florida has strutted out a different lineup in all 11 games this season.
· Avery Barnes’ triple following Thompson gave the Gators back-to-back triples for the first time since Josh Adams and Jonathan Pigott tripled consecutively Feb. 27, 2008, versus Eastern Michigan. The Gators cranked out two triples in a game for the first time this year. The collection of triples was the first time since May 13, 2008, versus USF where the Gators knocked out two triples.
· Jonathan Pigott’s RBI in the seventh was his first RBI since a 2-for-3 performance versus USF on May 13, 2008.