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Wednesday March 18, 2009No. 25 Baseball Puts Down UCF, 7-3

Orlando, Fla.

Freshman right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) (1-0) notched his first collegiate victory with five innings of one-run ball as No. 25 Florida (11-7) defeated UCF (7-12), 7-3, in front of a record crowd of 2,758 fans at Jay Bergman Field on Wednesday night. Sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) and junior Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) drove in two runs apiece, while junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) went 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot.

 

In the second, UCF freshman Beau Taylor (2-for-4) led off with a single up the middle and senior Kiko Vazquez followed with a base-hit into right field to give the Knights runners on the corners with none out. DeSclafani buckled down to retire the next three hitters: senior Chadd Hartman (strikeout), senior Eric Kallstrom (foul pop-up) and freshman Austin Smith (line out).

 

The Gators opened the scoring in the third inning on an RBI single by den Dekker and a two-run double by Adams (1-for-5). With one down, Pisani (2-for-4) had an infield hit and freshman Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) was plunked by freshman Bryan Brown (0-3). den Dekker smoked a single through the right side to bring across Pisani and Adams followed with a two-bagger to deep left field to clear the bases and increase UF’s lead to 3-0. After a walk to senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) and a wild pitch that pushed Adams to third, Brown (2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R) was pulled in favor of junior Cory Weech, who threw 1.2 perfect innings with two K.  

 

Consecutive two-out errors in the fourth paved the way for UCF’s first run and a 3-1 score. DeSclafani set down the first two batters before Hartman reached on a miscue by Weitzel and Kallstrom made it aboard on an error by Adams. Smith then punched a single into right field to put the home team on the board.

 

Taylor opened the home part of the sixth with a single into right field, ending the night for DeSclafani. Over five innings, the rookie scattered six hits, had four strikeouts and threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 23 batters he faced. Junior Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) entered the contest and worked around a Florida throwing error to keep the Knights down by a pair of runs.

 

Pisani came through with a crucial two-run double in the seventh that expanded the Gators’ lead to 5-1. Freshman Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) laced a one-out single off rookie D.J. Hicks and went to second on a throwing error by senior outfielder Colin Arnold. After sophomore Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) drew a walk, Pisani blooped his second double of the campaign just inside the left-field line to provide the visitors with some breathing room.

 

In the bottom of the inning, UCF responded with one run and had the bases loaded a second time before junior Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) had Vazquez hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. At the outset of the frame, Arnold (2-for-5) and freshman Jake Huxtable delivered back-to-back singles off Franklin (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R) to cause a pitching change. Freshman Will Jolin (Guilford, Conn.) issued a walk to junior Shane Brown to load the bases and senior Brandon Romans lofted a sacrifice fly into right field to close the gap to 5-2. Davis was summoned from the bullpen and issued a free pass to Taylor to fill the bags again. However, the southpaw induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play from the slugger Vazquez to keep the Gators ahead by three runs.

 

Freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) notched his first career triple with one down in the eighth and freshman Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) followed with a pinch-hit sac fly to boost UF’s advantage to 7-2. Barnes had drawn a leadoff walk from sophomore Evan Stobbs, moved to second on a passed ball and went to third on junior Buddy Munroe’s (Miami, Fla.) grounder. Tucker snapped an 0-for-16 drought by blasting a pitch down into the right-field corner that was good for three bases. Thompson stepped to the dish and collected his second RBI of the campaign with a fly ball to straightaway center field.  

 

Junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) registered a couple of strikeouts to start the ninth before surrendering a solo shot to Romans that completed the scoring at 7-3. UCF held a 9-8 advantage in hits but stranded 11 runners. The Gators resume Southeastern Conference play on Friday night when they host Eastern Division rival Tennessee (8-9/1-2 SEC) in the opener of a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m. and the game will be carried live on Sun Sports.

 

-UF-

 

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