Saturday March 7, 2009No. 17 Baseball Stops Duquesne, 5-3
Florida freshman Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) (1-1) picked up his first collegiate win as the No. 17 Gators (8-4) clinched their weekend series with a 5-3 triumph over Duquesne (0-10) on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium in front of 2,487 fans. The left-hander scattered five hits, allowed zero earned runs and had a career-high three strikeouts in six innings of work.
Senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) had a three-run triple, junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.) was a season-best 3-for-3 and junior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) struck out the final two Duquesne hitters with the bases loaded to collect his first save.
“I was pleased that all five of our runs were scored with two out today,” head Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We pitched fairly well this afternoon, with only one earned run and one walk. We have to continue to work on swinging the bats better and improve our defense to be successful. Jeff (Barfield) made quality pitches at the end of the game to close it out for us.”
Senior Bill Torre (2-for-4) gave the Dukes an early lead in the top of the first with an RBI single to left field off Maronde. The leadoff batter, senior Anthony Manley, had reached on a throwing error by junior third baseman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) and scored on the one-out hit.
Pisani’s second error of the game with two down in the second brought in another unearned run for Duquesne. Sophomore Joe Lombardo (2-for-3) doubled to center and moved over to third on a grounder by freshman Chris Vergos. Maronde induced a ground ball by freshman Derek Lefever (2-for-3) that was thrown away, resulting in a 2-0 score.
The Gators rallied for four runs with two out in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by a bases-clearing triple by Barnes, to seize a 4-2 advantage. Freshman Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) led off with an infield hit and stole his first career base after senior Ryan Juran (0-3) had recorded a pair of outs. Senior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.) was hit by a pitch and freshman Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) drew a walk to load the bases. Barnes sliced his team-leading third triple down the right-field line to put UF in front and Mooney stroked a single through the right side to drive in his teammate.
Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) (2-for-4) provided the Gators with some insurance by coming through with a two-out RBI single in the seventh off freshman reliever Jim Devine. After Juran had retired the first two batters of the inning, Mooney roped a double into right center for his third hit of the afternoon. Following a walk to freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.), Juran (6.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R) was replaced by Devine. McArthur ripped a 1-0 pitch through the left side to give UF a 5-2 edge and collect his team-best 12th RBI.
In the ninth, redshirt freshman Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.) (2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 K, 1 R) surrendered singles to junior Mark Tracy, Lombardo and Vergos to load the bases with one down. Barfield was summoned from the bullpen and gave up a single to Lefever that narrowed the gap to 5-3. However, the righty fanned Manley and freshman Derrik Zeroski to secure the victory.
The teams will close the weekend series with another noon start tomorrow. In a matchup of right-handers, senior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) (1-2, 3.52) will oppose either Paul Bugajski (0-1, 12.86) or Johnny Elms (0-0, 2.57).