Tuesday May 12, 2009No. 11 Baseball Downs Jacksonville, 7-4
No. 11 Florida (36-17) knocked off Jacksonville (33-18), 7-4, on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium to conclude the non-league portion of its schedule. Junior Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.) snapped a 2-2 tie with a three-run homer in the fourth and junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and scored twice.
“I thought Alex (Panteliodis) gave us a great start,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I thought that was the best he’s thrown the ball all year. His fastball had life and was down (in the zone). I thought (Patrick) Keating threw really, really well and his stuff was crisp. He’s thrown the ball really well the last couple of times. (Mike) Mooney came out and gave us a big three-run homer. We were also able to keep our pitchers fresh for later this week.”
The Dolphins grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning against freshman Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (5-5) on a two-run homer by sophomore Chris Connelly. Junior Alex Martinez had led off with a single up the middle and Connelly followed with his sixth dinger of the season into the left-field bleachers.
In the bottom of the inning, Florida answered with a pair of unearned runs off senior Garrett Dunlap (1-1) to knot the score at 2-2. Sophomore Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) and den Dekker started things off with back-to-back singles and senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) laid down a sacrifice bunt. However, Dunlap threw the ball away trying to force Adams at third base, scoring Adams and enabling den Dekker and McArthur to take third and second, respectively. A groundout by senior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.) brought across den Dekker with the tying run.
Mooney clubbed a three-run homer with two down in the fourth to give Florida a 5-2 lead. den Dekker began the inning with a double down the right-field line and advanced to third on a grounder by McArthur. den Dekker was cut down at the plate on Foster’s ground ball to third base and then junior Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) reached on a fielding miscue by sophomore Glen Johnson. Mooney cranked his second round-tripper of the year to left field to put the hosts in front. His previous big fly came at Georgia on May 1.
Senior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) replaced Panteliodis, who was on a predetermined pitch count, prior to the fifth and surrendered a leadoff double to sophomore Jamaal Hawkins. Panteliodis tallied a career-high six strikeouts and scattered three hits over four frames. After freshman Kevin Lehane punched a single into left field for runners on the corners, Keating induced a flyout by Johnson and had junior Chuck Opachich ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Adams belted his seventh homer with two down in the fifth over the right-field fence for a 6-2 Gator lead. Junior Glenn Witkowski took over for Dunlap (4.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 2 ER) with den Dekker aboard at second courtesy of his second double of the night and gave up an RBI single into left field by McArthur for a five-run Florida advantage.
Martinez drove in senior Kyle Fleming (2-for-4) with a grounder in the sixth to narrow the gap to 7-3. Freshman Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) relieved Keating and gave up a leadoff two-bagger to Fleming. A grounder by senior Jeremy Gillan pushed the runner to third and senior Thomas Myers drew a walk. Martinez reduced the Dolphins’ deficit to four runs with his grounder to shortstop.
Redshirt freshman Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.) entered the game in the seventh and retired the side with a couple of strikeouts and a groundout. Fleming had a one-out single in the eighth but was erased at second base on a fielder’s choice by Gillan. Senior Thomas Myers tripled to deep center to bring in Gillan for a 7-4 margin. Junior Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) recorded the final three outs to notch his 11th save, two shy of the single-season school record.
The Gators return to SEC action on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. when they host Eastern Division rival Kentucky (26-24) in the opener of a three-game series to conclude the regular season.
· Avery Barnes’ career-long 15-game hitting streak came to an end. Barnes was 28-for-68 (.412) with 19 runs and 7 RBI during the stretch.
· Florida improved to 11-7 versus Sunshine State opponents in 2009. The 11 victories mark the most against state of Florida opponents since 1996, when the Gators were 14-2.
· The Gators improved to 17-11 this season after allowing the opponent to score first.
· The Orange and Blue now stand at 22-6 when hitting a home run.
· Billy Bullock recorded his 11th save of 2009, good for fourth all-time in Gator history and the most since Josh Fogg tied the school record with 13 in 1998.
· Brandon McArthur moved into a tie with Matt LaPorta for seventh all-time in games started at the University of Florida with 201.
· Since a 0-for-5 performance against Florida State in Game 2 of the 2005 NCAA Super Regional, Brandon McArthur has reached base safely in 21-straight home games versus in-state opponents.
· Alex Panteliodis set a career high with six strikeouts, surpassing his previous record of five set against Florida State on March 17.
· Matt den Dekker had recorded a hit in six consecutive at-bats, three on Sunday at LSU and a single and two doubles in his first three at-bats tonight. He matched a career high with two doubles set on March 4, 2008, against Campbell.
· Since joining the bullpen on April 22 against USF, Patrick Keating has pitched 8.1 innings, surrendering nine hits, four walks, and two earned runs while striking out six.