Tuesday March 17, 2009Walk-Off Single Lifts No. 25 Baseball Over No. 17 FSU, 5-4
Florida junior Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) delivered a game-winning single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to propel the No. 25 Gators (10-7) to a 5-4 victory over No. 17 Florida State (9-7) in front of 3,369 fans at McKethan Stadium on Tuesday night. Munroe (3-for-5) had a career-high three hits and notched two RBI as Florida ended a three-game slide. Junior Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) (1-0) earned the win after inheriting a bases-loaded situation in the ninth and limiting the high-powered Seminoles to just a run.
After the Seminoles had tied the game with a pair of runs in the top of the inning, junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) led off with a single through the left side off senior Jimmy Marshall (1-1) and took second on a wild pitch. Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) (2-for-5, two runs) legged out a bunt single for runners on the corners and Marshall struck out sophomore Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.). Freshman pinch runner Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) moved to second without drawing a throw and the Seminoles elected to walk junior Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) intentionally to fill the sacks. Munroe sent a 2-2 offering from the right-hander into right field to bring home den Dekker with the decisive run as UF captured the first of three meetings between the Sunshine State rivals.
“This team has been down on itself and it was a tough weekend at Arkansas,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Baseball is a really difficult game because of a lot of mental stuff going on so we just tried to wipe the slate clean. I thought that we dealt with the adversity really well tonight. We go to (Patrick) Keating in the ninth and he gives up two (runs). Then, we go to Tony (Davis) and he does a heck of a job limiting the damage. He gives up the tying run but then he buckles down.
“We get the go-ahead run up to the plate and we have to battle back. We had Matt (den Dekker) stick his nose on a ball to the left side, which he hasn’t done in awhile. There were a lot of positives. Although we certainly have a long way to go, I think that we needed a win in the worst way. I’m real proud of the way they battled tonight.”
McArthur opened the scoring with a two-out single up the middle in the third off FSU freshman Brian Busch. Sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) had drawn a walk with one down and was sacrificed into scoring position by den Dekker. McArthur roped a single into center for his team-leading 16th RBI and took second on the relay throw to the plate. Sophomore Geoff Parker replaced Busch (2.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R) and fanned Cooper.
Florida State’s bid to tie the game in the fourth was denied when junior Jason Stidham (2-for-3) was thrown out at the plate to end the frame. Freshman Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) had retired the first two hitters before Stidham lashed a single into right field just above the outstretched arm of freshman second baseman Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) (2-for-4). Sophomore Jack Posey followed with a double into the left-field corner but Stidham was gunned down on a relay from senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) to Adams to Munroe.
Junior Stephen Cardullo (2-for-4) opened the fifth with a double down the left-field line and Panteliodis registered his career-high fifth strikeout before giving way to junior Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.). Panteliodis allowed five hits over 4.1 shutout innings. Franklin struck out freshman pinch hitter James Ramsey and had Lopez ground out to strand the runner and preserve the tenuous one-run margin.
Florida State seized a 2-1 lead in the sixth and had the bases full with one out, only to have the Gators turn an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Sophomore Tyler Holt (3-for-5, two runs) led off with a double and senior Tommy Oravetz (2-for-4) walked on four pitches before sophomore Stuart Tapley laid down a sac bunt to move his teammates into scoring position. Sophomore Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) took over for Franklin (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R) and issued a free pass to Stidham on four pitches before being replaced by freshman Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.). Posey dropped a Texas Leaguer into shallow right center to even the game and then Larson plunked Cardullo to move the Seminoles in front. The rookie reliever had junior Ohmed Danesh tap into a double play that was started by Adams to prevent further trouble.
The Gators countered with a two-out RBI single by Munroe off sophomore Mike McGee in the bottom of the inning to even the game. Cooper had drawn a one-out walk from Parker (2.2 IP, 0 H, season-high five K), prompting a pitching change. After McGee had Pisani go down swinging, Cooper swiped his second base of the year and scored on Munroe’s hit into right field. Weitzel collected his second single of the contest to give UF runners on the corners and sophomore John Gast was summoned from the bullpen. The southpaw had a grounder from Barnes force Weitzel at second base for the final out.
The Seminoles loaded the bags with one down in the seventh against Larson (1.0 IP, 4 H) and were foiled by junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.), who had Tapley hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to keep the game tied. Lopez and Holt had back-to-back infield singles and Oravetz hit a shot that ricocheted off Weitzel’s glove which filled the sacks.
Three errors in the bottom of the seventh allowed the Gators to take a 4-2 advantage. Junior pinch hitter Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) started the frame with a walk and took second on a throwing error by Gast. Pigott advanced to third on a passed ball and den Dekker also earned a base on balls before McArthur’s ground ball eluded Posey and brought in the go-ahead run. Senior Bo O’Dell replaced Gast (0.2 IP) and had Cooper ground out to short. However, Cardullo missed the ball and den Dekker came across with another unearned run.
In the eighth, junior Mike Msechke delivered a pinch-hit single and Cardullo followed with a liner into left to give the Seminoles a pair of runners with one down. Bullock struck out Danesh and freshman pinch hitter Sean Gilmartin to close the inning.
Lopez and Holt began the ninth with consecutive singles off senior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) and Oravetz followed with a ground-rule double to narrow the gap to 4-3. A walk to Tapley loaded the bases with none out and Davis replaced Keating. After Stidham tied the game with a sacrifice fly into left field that brought in Holt, Davis rebounded to strike out Meschke and had Cardullo fly out to right field. FSU held a 15-10 advantage in hits and committed four errors, compared to zero for the hosts.
The Gators will travel to Orlando tomorrow for a 6:30 p.m. matchup against UCF (7-11). The game will be carried live on CSS and is the first meeting between the clubs since a 6-2 victory for the Knights on April 10, 2007.
· Freshman Alex Panteliodis made his team-leading fifth start of the season. The left hander’s 4.1 innings pitched without allowing an earned run is the longest a Florida pitcher has gone into a game without allowing an earned run against Florida State since Stephen Locke gave up zero earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched in a 9-2 victory in Tallahassee on March 30, 2005. The freshman’s five strikeouts matched a season total.
· Florida has turned a double play in six-consecutive games and eight of its last nine contests.
· Avery Barnes’ eight-game hitting streak and five-game streak of scoring a run came to an end.
· Florida has now won three-straight games on St. Patrick’s Day, with their last win being a 10-8 victory over Mississippi State in 2007.
· The Gators improved to 4-0 when not committing an error this season.
· With Florida’s come-from-behind victory tonight, the Gators have come back from behind in six of their 10 victories this season.
· The win in the ninth frame marked the Gators’ second walk-off win of the season and first since a 3-2 victory over Louisville on Feb. 22.
· Florida has won five straight over FSU in the month of March.
· The game time of 3:51 was the longest of the season and just two minutes short of the last time Florida and Florida State played (May 31, 2008).
· Ben McMahan’s first-career hit came on a bunt single in the first stanza.
· Florida has used a different lineup in all 17 games this year.