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Wednesday April 22, 2009No. 22 Baseball Overpowers FGCU, 12-3

Fort Myers, Fla.

No. 22 Florida (27-14) used a six-run fifth inning and banged out 18 hits to down FGCU (22-15), 12-3, on Tuesday night in front of 5,147 fans at Hammond Stadium, home of the Ft. Myers Miracle. It was the largest crowd to watch the Eagles play as the home team in any sport. Junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) (1-2) picked up his first victory since May 2 of last season with three scoreless innings, while freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (1-for-6, three RBI) and junior Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) (3-for-5, three RBI) each homered. The teams will meet again at McKethan Stadium on May 6.  


Helped by a couple of errors, the Gators broke the ice in the opening frame. Junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (1-for-3, three runs) drew a four-pitch walk from sophomore Craig Crumbly (3-3) and freshman Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (2-for-5, two RBI) reached on a fielding error. With one down, the duo executed a double steal and den Dekker was able to score when the throw down to third base by sophomore catcher Robert Greene sailed into left field.


UF added another run in the second on an RBI double by Pigott that brought in his brother Jonathan. The elder Pigott (3-for-5, two runs) had stroked a one-out single up the middle and moved to third on a base-hit by den Dekker. Daniel Pigott connected on his sixth two-bagger for a two-run lead. Crumbly stranded the two runners in scoring position by having freshman Tucker ground out.


The Gators squandered an opportunity to increase their lead in the third after loading the bases on consecutive one-out singles by senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.), Munroe and senior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.). Crumbly wiggled out of trouble again by having Jonathan Pigott tap into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. 


Senior Josh Upchurch moved the Eagles in front with a three-run homer in the home part of the inning. Junior Brad Roberts notched FGCU’s initial hit off junior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) with a leadoff single into left and freshman Joe Guarnaccia earned a free pass. Upchurch launched his second dinger over the wall in right field to clear the bases.


The Gators evened the score at 3-3 in the fourth on a costly throwing error with two down. Junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.) (3-for-4) singled into left and den Dekker drew his second walk before a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Daniel Pigott erased Mooney at third. A throwing error on an apparent double play ball struck by Tucker enabled den Dekker to score, as Pigott was forced at second base and sophomore Stephen Wickens relay over to first was wide of the bag.


UF exploded for six runs on four hits and an error in the fifth to build a 9-3 cushion. Munroe cranked his first homer since April 4 at Vanderbilt with a towering shot to right field with one out for a 4-3 UF advantage. His fourth blast of the year ended the night for Crumbly, who gave up eight hits and four runs (two earned), with three walks and three strikeouts, over 4.1 innings. Foster greeted freshman reliever Jason Forjet with a pop-up to right field that was dropped for a two-base error and a base-hit by Jonathan Pigott left runners on the corners. Mooney delivered an RBI single for a 5-3 lead and den Dekker was plunked to load the bases. Daniel Pigott lofted a sacrifice fly into foul territory that brought across his brother with the sixth run. Tucker bashed his team-leading ninth homer and raised his RBI total to 53 with a three-run jack to chase Forjet (0.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R).


The visitors tacked on three more runs in the eighth for a 12-3 bulge. Sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) opened the stanza with his eighth double and the Eagles committed their fifth error of the night on freshman Jerico Weitzel’s (Ridgway, Pa.) grounder for two runners aboard. A wild pitch by senior Nick Ursitti advanced both Gators and Munroe punched a two-run single into center field to balloon the margin to eight runs. Freshman Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) followed with his second hit of the contest and Daniel Pigott collected his third hit to load the bases with none out to end Ursitti’s tenure (4 H, 3 R, 1 ER). A fielder’s choice by den Dekker off freshman Jacob Barnes scored Munroe with the game’s final run.


Bullock replaced Barfield (3.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R) prior to FGCU’s fourth at bat and limited the Eagles to one hit and zero runs over three innings. The righty also matched his season high of four strikeouts set at Florida State on April 14. Freshman Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) struck out two of the three batters he faced and freshman Will Jolin (Guilford, Conn.) closed the game with a pair of scoreless frames in which he registered three strikeouts and permitted two singles. Florida held a commanding 18-5 edge in hits and its relief corps threw six shutout innings.


The Gators host USF (24-14/12-3 Big East) tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. at McKethan Stadium before welcoming South Carolina (26-14/9-9 SEC) to town this weekend for a three-game series.




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