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Saturday April 11, 2009AU's Walk-Off Homer Stuns No. 22 Baseball, 8-7

Auburn, Ala.

Sophomore Justin Hargett clubbed a walk-off solo homer with one out in the 11th inning to give Auburn (23-10/7-6 SEC) an 8-7 victory over No. 22 Florida (21-12/7-6 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park in the completion of Friday nightís suspended game to begin the weekend series. The Tigers had rallied from a 7-1 deficit and had a two-out RBI double in the ninth by junior Joseph Sanders (3-for-5, three RBI, two homers) that sent the game into extra innings. The squads combined for seven home runs, including five by the hosts.


Sophomore Bradley Hendrix (6-2) threw two scoreless and hitless innings to collect the win, while freshman Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (2-4) surrendered the shot over the right-field wall to Hargett (1-for-5) and was on the hook for the loss.


Florida used three hits to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) (2-for-5, two runs) led off with his fifth homer of the campaign into the right-field bullpen off sophomore Grant Dayton. Barnes had entered the season with five career homers and also extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games with the blast. Sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-4) followed with his fourth double off the wall in left field and scored on an RBI single by freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-5, two RBI). Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner. Fla.) pushed Tucker to third with a groundout and junior Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) (2-for-5) plated his teammate with a grounder to second.


Junior right-hander Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) retired the first 10 batters of the game before Sanders bashed his team-leading 15th homer to deep left field for a 3-1 score in the home part of the fourth. Barfield responded with consecutive strikeouts of sophomores Hunter Morris and Tony Caldwell and wound up with four K over four innings.


Junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (3-for-5) belted his fifth round-tripper with one down in the fifth to give UF a 4-1 advantage. It was his first four-bagger since March 25 against UNF. Freshman Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) punched a single up the middle for the visitorsí ninth hit before tornado sirens wailed and the game was delayed at 6:56 p.m. Central Time.


The game resumed at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday and the Gators kept up their offensive production. Barnes sliced a single into shallow right field off sophomore reliever Chris OíNeil for a pair of runners aboard. Soon after, Adams scored Pigott with his second double of the game and Tucker delivered an RBI grounder to drive in Barnes for a 6-1 margin. The rookie slugger now has 22 RBI over the past four games.


The Tigers loaded the bases with none out in the bottom of the frame but could not cut into the deficit. Senior Ben Jones (2-for-5) greeted freshman Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) with a base-hit through the right side, sophomore Brian Fletcher (2-for-4) doubled to left center and sophomore Kevin Patterson walked to load the bases. The southpaw worked out of the jam by setting down freshman Casey McElroy (strikeout), Hargett (pop-up) and sophomore Trent Mummey (called out on strikes).


Munroe started the sixth with fifth two-bagger and was sacrificed over by sophomore Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.). Junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.) (2-for-4) lofted his first sac fly of the campaign to right field to give UF a 7-1 lead.


Auburn used the long ball to narrow the gap to 7-4 in the sixth. Sanders cranked his second homer of the game to straightaway center field to lead things off and Fletcher later launched a two-run dinger over the wall in center with two down and Morris on first base.


A two-run, two-out homer by Jones in the eighth brought the Tigers within 7-6. Maronde notched two quick outs before yielding a single to Caldwell. Jones socked an 0-1 offering out of the park for his sixth big fly of the year to end the afternoon for Maronde (3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 K). Freshman Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) issued a walk to the lone batter he faced, Fletcher, and was replaced by junior Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.). The left-hander did his job by whiffing Patterson.


In the ninth, Mooney and den Dekker roped back-to-back one-out singles for the Gators. However, OíNeil (4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R) had freshman pinch hitter Tyler Thompsonís (Tequesta, Fla.) grounder force den Dekker at second base and then had Barnes ground out to third base to hold Auburnís deficit at one run.


After recording the first two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Davis walked Mummey on four pitches to prompt a call to the bullpen. Soon after, Sanders tied the game with a double to left center off junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) that was mere inches from a game-winning homer and Morris was walked intentionally. Bullock sent the Gators into extra innings for the first time this season by having Caldwell ground out.


Bullock (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 K) struck out the first two hitters in the 10th before Panteliodis took over on the mound and punched out junior pinch hitter Bradley Ray. Hendrix retired the Gators in order in the 11th to set the stage for Hargettís heroics.


The Gators will send senior Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) (0-0, 2.89) to the bump in game two against AU redshirt freshman Jon Luke Jacobs (3-1, 5.59).



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