Sunday March 8, 2009No. 17 Baseball Completes Sweep of Dukes, 12-2
Junior Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) belted his first-ever grand slam and drove in a career-high six runs to help No. 17 Florida (9-4) finish a weekend sweep of Duquesne (0-11) with a 12-2 victory at McKethan Stadium on Sunday in front of 2,493 spectators. Pisani went 2-for-3 and also added a sacrifice fly and a sac bunt as four Gators turned in multiple-hit outings.
“Any win is important, especially this time of year,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We’ve been struggling offensively, there is no getting around it, so it was nice to have a big inning in the sixth. Hopefully, this can take a little pressure off and they can relax. We get a chance this week to rest up and get ourselves together before starting SEC play.”
The Gators used sacrifice flies from freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) and Pisani to break the ice in the first inning. Senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) and junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.) had back-to-back singles off sophomore Johnny Elms (0-1) and Tucker delivered his team-leading third sac fly to center field. Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) (2-for-3, two runs) followed with his third double for runners on second and third and Pisani’s pop-fly in foul territory was caught but since no one was covering the plate, Mooney scored for a 2-0 lead.
Duquesne cut the deficit in half on freshman Chris Kimmeth’s (2-for-4) solo shot off senior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) (2-2) with one down in the second that landed in the left-field bleachers.
UF had three-straight hits in the fourth against junior reliever Paul Bugajski to build a 3-1 advantage. Over his two innings, Elms had given up two hits and two runs and issued four walks. Junior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (2-for-4) led off with a bunt single and scored when sophomore Riley Cooper’s (Clearwater, Fla.) (2-for-5) double into the left-field corner was bobbled. Although freshman Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) legged out a bunt for runners on the corners and none out, Bugajski prevented further damage.
A wild pitch by Keating with two down in the fifth allowed Kimmeth to close the gap to 3-2. Kimmeth had singled up the middle and moved around the bases on a grounder by freshman Andrew Dobson and a fly ball by freshman Matt Carson. Pigott came through with a two-out double in the bottom of the inning to help the Gators re-claim a two-run lead. McArthur had singled up the middle and moved into scoring position on a bunt by Pisani.
The Gators put the game away in the sixth with a six-run outburst that was fueled by Pisani’s first career grand slam and two Duquesne errors. Tignor reached on an error with one down, Barnes singled and Mooney walked to load the bases. Tucker’s potential double play ball was misplayed, allowing Tignor and Barnes to come across. Following a walk to McArthur that filled the sacks again, Pisani hammered a 1-0 pitch from sophomore Grant Gillespie out of the park for a 10-2 margin. It was his first round-tripper since the NCAA Tallahassee Regional on May 31 of last season against Florida State.
“I was looking for something to hit up the middle,” Pisani said. “I just got my barrel out front and got lucky. I’ve been struggling a little bit and have been trying to make solid contact. After yesterday, I think our team needed a little offensive jump-start and I think that might have helped out a bit.”
Pisani completed his big day in the eighth by launching his first triple to right center to score junior pinch runner Jandy Rosabal (Miami, Fla.), who was making his first appearance as a Gator. Pisani scored UF’s final run on a passed ball to finalize the 12-2 margin.
In five innings of work, Keating allowed seven hits and two runs before giving way to junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) (2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K), freshman Will Jolin (Guilford, Conn.) (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 K) and sophomore Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 1 K). The Gators will begin their 30-game Southeastern Conference schedule on Friday night at Western Division rival Arkansas. First pitch from Baum Stadium will be at 7:35 p.m. and the contest will be carried live on GatorVision Online.