Wednesday April 15, 2009No. 20 Baseball Rolls Over Stetson, 15-4
No. 20 Florida (25-12) had a stretch of 12 consecutive runs, including a seven-run outburst in the sixth, to cruise past Stetson (16-20), 15-4, on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. The Gators’ fourth win in a row was their 14th straight at home and enabled them to take both meetings this spring against the Hatters. Freshman Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was a career-best 4-for-6 with a three-run homer and scored three runs, junior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was 3-for-6 with a pair of RBI, while freshman Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (3-4) earned the decision with 1.2 scoreless innings.
“Everyone is just feeding off each other batters one through nine,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We just need to ride out this hot streak we are on. I realize that this type of momentum doesn’t last forever, but as long as we get contributions from top-to-bottom we will be in good shape.
“The diving play Jonathan Pigott made in the fourth inning saved us a couple of runs and if he doesn’t make that play, it might have been an entirely different game. Both he and his brother had great games today. They are both hard workers and great kids.”
Freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4, three runs) blasted a three-run homer in the first inning off senior Jake Hitchcock, giving him four-consecutive at bats with a round-tripper at home. Daniel Pigott singled down the left-field line with one out and sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) followed with a walk. Tucker hammered Hitchcock’s initial pitch out of the yard in right field for his team-leading eighth homer and also raised his hitting streak to eight games. He now has 49 RBI on the year and has driven in 30 runs over the past eight games.
The Hatters loaded the bases with one down in the second against senior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) on consecutive singles by freshman Nick Rickles (2-for-4), junior Kyle Maulbetsch and freshman Mark Jones (3-for-4). Keating struck out sophomore Sean Emory and had sophomore Jeff Simpson’s (3-for-5) grounder force Jones at second base to end the inning.
In the third, senior Jeremy Cruz (2-for-3) singled through the left side and junior Aaron Crittenden delivered a single up the middle on a hit and run for runners on the corners and one out. Keating wiggled out of trouble again by having sophomore Frank Florio line out to shortstop and Rickles fly out to center field.
Stetson knotted the game at 3-3 in the fourth on two hits and a Gator error. With one down, Jones smashed a single off Keating’s leg and later took third when Adams misplayed Emory’s grounder. Simpson punched an RBI single up the middle for a 3-1 score, ending the night for Keating (3.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 1 ER). Redshirt freshman Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.) uncorked a wild pitch for a pair of runners in scoring position and then issued a walk to junior Casey Frawley to load the bases. Cruz earned a free pass to close the gap to 3-2 and Crittenden tied the game with a sacrifice fly into left field. Jonathan Pigott made a highlight reel catch by laying out in left field to close the stanza.
With two down in the bottom of the inning, freshman Ben McMahan (Windermere, Fla.) drew a walk and junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.) was hit by a pitch. Junior David Burns (2-4) replaced Hitchcock (3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R) and fanned junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) to strand the runners.
Poovey surrendered singles to Rickles and Jones in the fifth to prompt a pitching change. Panteliodis had Emory fly out to center but then Simpson legged out an infield hit to fill the sacks with two down. The southpaw retired Frawley on an infield pop-up, bringing the Hatters’ total to 12 left on base.
The Gators erupted for four runs on four hits in the home part of the fifth to seize a 7-3 lead. Daniel Pigott opened with a single and Adams and Tucker earned back-to-back walks to fill the bags and chase Burns (0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 BB). Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) (2-for-4) put the Gators on top with a single into left off freshman Robbie Powell and Jonathan Pigott had an RBI grounder to give UF a 5-3 advantage. Senior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville , Fla.) punched a two-run single up the middle for a four-run cushion. Foster swiped second, Mooney walked and den Dekker had an infield hit with two down before Powell struck out the 10th batter of the inning, Daniel Pigott.
UF tacked on seven more runs in the sixth for a 14-3 margin. After Tucker singled up the middle with one down and scored all the way from first base on McArthur’s base-knock into center, Jonathan Pigott launched a triple to deep center for a 9-3 lead. Sophomore Nick Bohne took over for Powell (1.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R) and yielded a two-out RBI double to junior Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.). Junior Clayton Pisani’s (Naples, Fla.) fly ball was jarred loose at the wall for a double, allowing Tignor to score the 11th run. Daniel Pigott cleared the bases with a three-run blast into the left-field bleachers for his third homer and a 14-3 cushion.
Freshman Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) roped an RBI single in the seventh that brought in Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) for a 15-3 lead. The Hatters plated an unearned run off sophomore Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) in the eighth on a sacrifice fly in foul territory by Frawley to finalize the 15-4 count.
The Gators resume Southeastern Conference action this weekend when they host No. 16 Ole Miss (26-10) in a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. The clubs are tied in the league standings with identical 9-6 marks.