Thursday March 11, 2010No. 6 Baseball Hosts CSU In Weekend Series
Following a mid-week series sweep of Illinois State, No. 6 Florida (9-2) continues its homestand at McKethan Stadium by welcoming Charleston Southern (5-8) of the Big South Conference to town for three games. Each contest will be carried live on GatorVision Online: Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.
In the teams’ most recent encounter to begin the 2005 campaign, the Buccaneers posted a 5-4 win in 11 innings to spoil the Gators’ season opener. Florida bounced back with victories by scores of 3-2 and 15-6 to take the series on its way to the most successful season in school history. UF was 48-23 overall and was the runner-up at the NCAA College World Series after bringing home the SEC title for the first time since 1998.
Sophomore Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (3-0, 1.93) will face CSU junior right-hander Anthony Markham (0-1, 9.26) to begin the series. In his last outing on March 5, the lefty gave up two hits over 5.2 innings and was supported by an offense that plated four runs in the third and three in the eighth to defeat No. 10 Miami, 7-1. In three appearances this year, Panteliodis has notched three victories, totaled 12 strikeouts, issued three walks and limited opponents to a .172 clip in 9.1 innings.
In a matchup of left-handers on Saturday, freshman Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (1-1, 3.27) will oppose sophomore Charlie McCready (0-2, 3.60). Johnson took the loss in the second encounter with the Hurricanes last weekend after giving up six hits and five runs (two earned) over 4.2 innings.
A pair of righties, redshirt sophomore Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (2-0, 1.98) and junior Tyler Thornburg (2-1, 6.48), will wrap up the series on Sunday. Toledo scattered three hits and gave up one earned run over five innings to win the finale at UM last weekend. In his third start and fourth appearance of the campaign, he totaled four K.
In the Gators’ last time out, freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (4-for-5) drove in a career-high six runs, highlighted by his first grand slam, while sophomore Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) (1-1) earned his first win of the campaign with 5.1 strong innings in which he registered a season-high six strikeouts and gave up one hit in an 8-0 blanking of Illinois State on Wednesday. The trio of freshman Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.), freshman Michael Heller (Bradenton, Fla.) and sophomore Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.) permitted one hit over the final 3.2 innings to nail down the Gators’ first shutout since 12-0 triumph over Eastern Michigan on Feb. 24, 2009.
Florida out-scored Illinois State, 16-2, over the two games. The Gators batted .324 (22-for-68), registered a 1.00 earned run average, were 11-for-11 on the basepaths, compiled a 17:1 strikeout to walk ratio and committed just one error. Maddox led the way with a 5-for-9 (.556) effort that featured nine RBI, three extra-base hits and two homers, while both senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and sophomore Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) were each 3-for-6. Freshman Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) went 3-for-4 (.750) and swiped four bases. Freshman RHP Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (2-0) picked up the win in the opener with five strikeouts over five innings before turning the game over to sophomore LHP Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) (2.0 IP, 4 K) and senior RHP Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.) (2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R). The two-hit shutout on Wednesday marked the second time this season that the Gators allowed two hits (7-1 win at Miami on March 5) and a group of seven UF pitchers limited Illinois State to a 9-for-61 (.148) showing at the plate.
den Dekker raised his hitting streak to 20 games with a 2-for-3 performance on Wednesday night against Illinois State. The Gator center fielder batted .500 (3-for-6) and scored five runs in the two meetings against the Redbirds and is 31-for-86 (.360) with 18 runs and 15 RBI during the skein. den Dekker leads UF in batting average (.420), hits (21), runs (14), multiple-hit games (8) and stolen bases (6-for-6).
*Florida is a perfect 7-0 at home this season and is 25-4 (.862) at home in the month of March under Kevin O’Sullivan. The Gators are 18-3 (.857) in regular-season series under his tutelage at McKethan Stadium.
*In addition to den Dekker’s 20-game hitting streak, Maddox enters the Charleston Southern series on an eight-game run in which he is 14-for-33 (.424) with 15 RBI, three doubles and two homers.
*Sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) has already drawn 12 walks in 11 games this year, including four intentional passes versus ISU. He walked 21 times in 62 games as a rookie.
*Freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) has started all 11 games at shortstop and has yet to commit an error in 50 chances.
*Freshman Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) made his first career start at second base on Wednesday and opened the scoring with a two-out single in the second inning to collect his first RBI.
*All four of Washington’s stolen bases this year have come in the past two games against Illinois State.
*Maddox leads Florida with four homers and has already hit for the cycle with a solo shot versus USF (Feb. 20), a two-run blast versus USF (Feb. 19), a three-run jack against Illinois State (3/9) and a grand slam off the Redbirds (3/10).
*The Gators are now 23-for-28 on the basepaths so far this season after being successful on seven of nine attempts at Miami and all 11 opportunities against Illinois State.
*den Dekker is 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts this season and is 48-for-51 in his career. He needs five thefts to pass Mark Kiger (2000-02) for 10th on the school’s all-time list.
*Florida is hitting .335 (80-for-239) against right-handers and .301 (47-for-156) against left-handers.
*Thompson is batting .538 (7-for-13) with runners on base and has eight RBI with two outs.
*UF is 8-for-23 (.348) with 21 RBI when the bases are loaded this year.
*Forty of the squad’s 76 RBI have come with two outs, good for a .526 percentage.
*Florida has used five different starting pitchers and the group is a combined 7-2 with a 2.20 earned run average in 49.0 innings. Opponents are hitting .197 with 49 strikeouts and eight walks.
*UF’s relievers are 2-0 with four saves and a 4.59 ERA in 49.0 innings, with 49 K and 14 walks.
*Maronde has 13 strikeouts over his last three appearances spanning 6.1 innings.
*The Gators are 8-0 this season when scoring first and are 7-1 when out-hitting their opponent.