Friday April 17, 2009No. 16 UM Takes Opener Over No. 20 Baseball, 6-2
Ole Miss sophomore left-hander Drew Pomeranz (4-1) went the distance for his first career complete game and registered a season-high nine strikeouts with a four-hitter, while sophomore Matt Smith was 2-for-5 with three RBI as the No. 16 Rebels (27-10/10-6 SEC) claimed a 6-2 victory over No. 20 Florida (25-13/9-7 SEC) on Friday night in the opener of the weekend series at McKethan Stadium. The loss ended a 14-game home winning streak for the Gators, who had also captured their first six league outings on their own turf this year.
The Rebels jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against junior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) (2-1). Junior Jordan Henry drew a leadoff walk and moved to second with his 23rd stolen base before senior Logan Power earned another free pass. After freshman Matt Snyder went down on strikes, Smith roped a two-run double into the gap in right center to open the scoring. Junior Zach Miller (2-for-4) advanced Smith with a grounder and senior Michael Hubbard sliced a single though the right side for a three-run advantage.
Junior Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) narrowed the gap to 3-1 in the second with a two-out RBI double. Pomeranz had struck out the first four batters before issuing a walk to sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.). The lefty fanned senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) but a wild pitch pushed Adams into scoring position. Munroe delivered his sixth two-bagger of the year into the right-field corner to put the Gators on the board.
Miller provided the Rebels with a 4-1 lead in the third with a two-out single up the middle. After Barfield retired the first two batters, Smith reached on a throwing error by junior shortstop Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.). Smith moved over on a wild pitch and Miller cashed in with a base-knock into center field to re-gain the three-run margin.
Senior Kyle Henson (2-for-4) opened the fourth with a double and Barfield struck out junior Kevin Mort before being lifted. Junior Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) took over for Barfield (3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER) and had sophomore pinch hitter Tim Ferguson ground out before whiffing Henry to strand Henson at third base.
Florida added a run in the bottom of the inning but wasted a prime opportunity to edge closer. Senior Avery Barnes (High Springs. Fla.) began the frame with his fourth double and freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) raised his hitting streak to nine games with a run-scoring single up the middle for his 50th RBI. After Adams followed with a bloop single into right for runners on the corners and none out, Pomeranz jammed McArthur on an infield fly. A base-running gaffe by the Gators resulted in the second out, as Adams was caught in a run-down between first and second and Tucker was gunned down at the plate trying to score. Seconds later, Pomeranz struck out Munroe to preserve the two-run edge.
UM countered with another run in the fifth on a Smith’s second double of the game to build a 5-2 lead. Power doubled down the left-field line to open the inning and scored on a one-out two-bagger by his teammate.
In the seventh, Henry drew a leadoff walk and Snyder roped a base-hit up the middle with one down to end the night for Davis (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, career-best 4 K). Freshman Will Jolin (Guilford, Conn.) had a fielder’s choice by Smith force Henry at third base but then plunked Miller to load the bases with two out. The rookie right-hander worked out of the jam by having junior David Phillips ground out to second.
Henson launched his third homer of the year into the left-field bleachers to begin the eighth, putting the Rebels up by a 6-2 score. Soon after, Mort punched a single into right but was erased at second base on a strong defensive play by Adams on a ball struck by Ferguson. A two-out walk to Power prompted another call to the bullpen, as sophomore Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) came in for Jolin (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R). The southpaw had Snyder fly out to center to end the stanza.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Miller and senior Jeremy Travis in the ninth left the Rebels with runners on the corners. However, Chapman had senior Brett Basham ground into an inning-ending double play to Mooney. UM held an 11-4 advantage in hits, including four doubles. The Gators will send senior LHP Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) (1-0, 2.60) to the bump tomorrow at 4 p.m. against junior righty Phillip Irwin (5-2, 3.44).
· The loss marked the first time since a 7-4 loss to Georgia on April 25, 2008, where the Gators lost at home to an SEC opponent.
· In the first baseman’s career-high nine-game hitting streak, Preston Tucker is hitting .475 (19-for-40) with 31 RBI and seven homers.
· Avery Barnes has crossed the plate 10 times in the last eight games
· Daniel Pigott’s five-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-4 performance.
· The complete game by Ole Miss’ Drew Pomeranz was the first nine-inning performance against the Gators since Ryan Strauss of Florida State went the distance on April 15, 2008. It was the first time a SEC pitcher had thrown a complete game against the Gators since Jared Bradford of LSU on March 30, 2008
· The two runs scored tied for the lowest offensive output by the Gators in SEC play this season.