Friday March 12, 2010No. 6 Baseball Handles CSU, 6-0, To Begin Series
Florida sophomore left-hander Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (4-0) scattered five hits over a career-high seven innings as sixth-ranked Florida (10-2) upended Charleston Southern (5-9), 6-0, in the teams’ series opener on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. Senior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) and junior Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) each retired all three hitters he faced to complete the five-hit blanking of the Buccaneers. Coupled with Wednesday’s 8-0 victory over Illinois State, it marked the first time since March 5 & 7, 1995, that the Gator pitching staff had notched consecutive shutouts.
“We had another good start by AP [Alex Panteliodis] tonight,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He wasn’t particularly sharp during his first four innings and I think he was 11-for-19 on first-pitch strikes. However, he was sharper in his last two innings, throwing his secondary stuff for strikes. We got another shutout, which is not easy to do, especially playing with aluminum bats. We played outstanding defense and walked just one batter.”
The Gators had a five-run second inning, including back-to-back two-out homers by freshman Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) (3-for-3) and senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (1-for-4). Freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville , Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) raised his hitting streak to nine games with a leadoff single off junior Anthony Markham (0-2) and junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) followed with a base-hit into shallow center field. Sophomore Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) advanced Maddox to third with a deep fly to right field and Adams stole second base for a pair of runners in scoring position. An RBI grounder by junior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville , Ga.) scored Maddox with the opening run and a fielding error by redshirt sophomore shortstop Walt Quattlebaum on the play left runners on the corners with one down. After Smith swiped second base, freshman Kamm Washington’s (Boynton Beach, Fla.) grounder plated Adams and then Zunino belted his second homer of the year to left field for a four-run advantage. den Dekker raised his hitting streak to 21 games with a solo shot off the scoreboard overlooking right field to put the hosts up by a 5-0 count. It was his first round-tripper in 42 games dating back to April 11 of last season at Auburn.
“I tried to simplify some things and swing the bat well,” Zunino said of his career-best night. “I tried to get back to basics by simplifying the stance and square some balls up tonight. It has helped a lot to shorten up my swing. The coaches have stressed that they do not want us to get beat by breaking balls. When you do that, it is easier to pick up spin out of the hand. I did not put as much thought into my approach in high school.”
On his first home run, den Dekker said, “I kept my hands back and caught the ball on the barrel. I’ve been focused on hitting ground balls, using my legs, because as the lead-off hitter you have to get on base for the guys in the middle of the line-up to drive you in.”
Redshirt junior Nick Chinners (2-for-3) and junior Tyler Thornburg opened the fourth with consecutive singles before Panteliodis induced a 4-6-3 double play from redshirt junior Matt Still. Junior Derek Smith drew a walk for two runners aboard and Panteliodis had Quattlebaum fly out to end the frame. Over seven innings, the southpaw recorded five strikeouts and claimed his fourth win in as many appearances.
Florida finalized the margin at 6-0 in the sixth on Thompson’s first sacrifice fly of the season. Maddox roped his team-leading fourth double off the right-field wall to begin the stanza and had gone to third on a sacrifice bunt by Adams.
Markham worked seven full innings, giving up nine hits and six runs (two earned). Tucker greeted redshirt freshman reliever Tim Flight in the eighth with a single and a fielder’s choice by Maddox forced senior pinch runner Jandy Rosabal (Miami, Fla.) at second base. However, a throwing error by Quattlebaum trying to turn the double play enabled Maddox to occupy second. Flight retired Adams and Thompson to hold the deficit at six runs.
UF doubled up the Buccaneers in hits, 10-5, and did not commit any errors for the sixth time this season. In a matchup of left-handers on Saturday at 4 p.m., freshman Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (1-1, 3.27) will oppose CSU sophomore Charlie McCready (0-2, 3.60).
· The last time Florida posted consecutive shutouts occurred in wins over St. Bonaventure (14-0) and Duquesne (13-0) on March 5 & 7, 1995, respectively.
· Matt den Dekker’s 21-game hitting streak matches Mark Kiger (5/27/00-3/31/01) for the sixth-longest in school history.
· The back-to-back homers by Mike Zunino and den Dekker in the second inning were the first by Florida since Preston Tucker and Josh Adams against Miami (Fla.) during the NCAA Gainesville Regional on May 31, 2009.
· The five-run second inning was the highest output in a frame by the Gators this season.
· Zunino (3-for-3) notched his second multiple-hit game of the year and was a double shy of the cycle. He had his first career triple in the seventh but was thrown out at the plate trying for an inside the park home run.
· The Gators left a season-low three runners on base.