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Wednesday March 3, 2010No. 3 Florida State Tops No. 5 Baseball, 10-5

Tampa, Fla.

A seven-run first inning powered No. 3 Florida State (7-0) to a 10-5 victory over No. 5 Florida (5-1) on Tuesday night at the inaugural Florida Four Tourney held at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. It was the first of four regular-season meetings between the Sunshine State rivals, all in different cities. 

 

The Seminoles exploded out of the gates with seven runs on six hits and two hit batters in the first inning, chasing sophomore starter Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) (0-1). Junior Tyler Holt (2-for-5) opened with a single up the middle, moved to third on a base-hit into right field by sophomore James Ramsey and senior Stephen Cardullo (2-for-3) was plunked to fill the sacks with none out. DeSclafani (3 H, 5 R) then hit junior Mike McGee to bring across Holt and surrendered a two-run single to junior Stuart Tapley (2-for-4) before being replaced by freshman Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.). Sophomore Sherman Johnson re-loaded the bases with a flare into center field and Randall had freshman Justin Gonzalez ground into a 3-6-1 double play, scoring McGee with the fourth run. Redshirt junior Rafael Lopez stroked an RBI double into right center and freshman Jayce Boyd (2-for-4) followed with a two-run homer to left field for his first collegiate homer and a seven-run cushion.

 

Freshman Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) put UF on the board in the third with a solo shot to straightaway center field off junior Geoff Parker (1-0) for his first career round-tripper. However, FSU answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning, when Gonzalez had a leadoff triple and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Lopez.

 

Junior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) and freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) had consecutive infield hits to begin the fifth for Florida and moved into scoring position on a grounder by freshman Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.). Parker worked out of trouble by having Zunino pop up and senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) ground out to first base.

 

In the sixth, junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-5) singled and freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) delivered a one-out double to right field to end the night for Parker. Over 5.1 innings, the right-hander yielded six hits and registered three strikeouts. Sophomore Brian Busch took over on the hill and struck out both sophomore pinch hitter Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach , Fla.) and Smith to preserve the 8-1 lead.

 

After Randall worked three innings, giving up six hits and three runs, sophomore Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) tossed two perfect innings with two strikeouts and sophomore Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) kept FSU off the board in the sixth and notched two K.

 

Cardullo greeted sophomore Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) with a base-hit to start the home part of the seventh and McGee drew a walk. The righty caught Tapley looking on strikes and was replaced by freshman Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.). The southpaw fanned Johnson and had Gonzalez ground out to strand the runners.

 

The Seminoles tacked on two more runs on three hits in eighth to build a 10-1 advantage. Lopez had a leadoff walk from freshman Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and Boyd singled for two runners aboard before the lefty struck out Holt. A fielder’s choice by Ramsey forced Boyd at second base and allowed Lopez to take third. Cardullo plated his teammate with an infield hit beyond the out-stretched dive of sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.), forcing another pitching change. Junior Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) surrendered a two-out single into right field to McGee to give FSU a nine-run margin.

 

Florida fought back with four runs on six hits in the ninth before succumbing, 10-5. Daniel Pigott and sophomore Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) opened the frame with back-to-back singles off junior Andrew Durden for runners on the corners. The reliever struck out the next two Gators before sophomore Ben McMahan (Windermere, Fla.) had an infield hit to score Pigott and keep the game alive. den Dekker extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games with a single into right field and Adams stroked a base-hit into left to narrow the gap to 10-4. Tucker came through with a single to pick up first RBI of the year to reduce the deficit to five runs. Maddox was hit by a pitch to load the bases, causing Durden to be taken out for junior Daniel Bennett. The reliever had Pigott pop up in foul territory to end the contest and earn his first save of the campaign.

 

The Gators return to action at 7 p.m. on Friday for the start of a three-game series at No. 11 Miami (6-1). The teams met five times last spring, with the Hurricanes sweeping three games during the regular season and Florida claiming both meetings at the NCAA Gainesville Regional.

         

Game Notes

·          Florida dropped its sixth game of the season for the third year in a row after starting 5-0 each time.  

·          The Gators had not allowed any runs in the first inning during their first five games.

·          This was the 12th time that the clubs met at a neutral site, with Florida now holding a 7-5 edge.

·          The teams have now alternated wins and losses in the last four meetings.

·          UF did not commit any errors for the second-straight game and the third time this year.

 

-UF-

 

 

 

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