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Saturday March 13, 2010No. 6 Baseball Takes Shootout Over CSU, 16-10

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 6 Florida (11-2) used a six-run sixth inning to power past Charleston Southern (5-10), 16-10, and clinch the teams’ weekend series on a blustery Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (3-for-6, two runs) tallied a season-high five RBI, freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) was 4-for-6 and freshman Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) drove in a career-high four runs to lift the Gators to their fifth-straight win. Sophomore Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.) (1-0) permitted one run over 2.1 innings to earn his first victory since March 25, 2009, against North Florida, and senior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) threw two scoreless innings to collect his first save. 

 

"Preston (Tucker) has been swinging the bat well for a week now, but it may not show in his number of extra-base hits and RBI,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. He's been seeing the ball really good and I think it was just a matter of time before he had a big day. The more (Austin) Maddox swings it the way he is swinging it, the more other teams are going to have to pitch to Preston."

 

Charleston Southern jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning on a three-run homer by sophomore Patrick Dolan (3-for-5, three runs). Junior Derek Smith (2-for-5) and redshirt sophomore Walt Quattlebaum (2-for-5, two runs) opened the frame with consecutive singles off freshman Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and Dolan blasted his first homer of the season into the left-field bleachers to end Florida’s scoreless streak at 24.2 innings dating back to Tuesday night.

 

The Gators countered with a two-run single by senior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach. Fla.) in the bottom of the inning to pull within 3-2. Junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) led off with a single into left field and was safe at second base on a fielder’s choice by junior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) (2-for-4, three runs, two RBI). Soon after, freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) was hit by a pitch from sophomore Charlie McCready (0-3) to load the bases. After Zunino flew out to shallow right field, Pigott delivered a base-knock into left that scored Adams and Smith for his first RBI of the year. McCready worked out of further trouble by having senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2-for-5, three runs) and sophomore Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) fly out.

 

Zunino roped a bases-clearing double with two down in the third to give Florida a 5-3 lead. Maddox increased his hitting streak to 10 games with a one-out single up the middle and Smith extended the inning with a two-out infield hit. Fontana walked to fill the bags and Zunino delivered his second two-bagger of the year into left field to move the Gators in front. 

 

CSU redshirt junior Bentley Christmas tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the fourth with a two-run shot to left field. Dolan poked a one-out single into center field and Christmas picked an opportune time for his initial hit of the campaign by following with a homer. Back-to-back two-out singles by freshman Jon Matthews and redshirt junior Nick Chinners (4-for-6, three RBI) ended the afternoon for Johnson, who allowed nine hits and five runs with three K over 3.2 innings. Sophomore Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) walked junior Tyler Thornburg to load the bases but then fanned redshirt junior Matt Still to keep the game tied.  

 

Florida plated two runs in the home part of the fourth on an RBI double by Tucker and a sacrifice fly by Adams to take a 7-5 lead. den Dekker legged out a bunt to start the frame, increasing his hitting streak to 22 games. Daniel Pigott advanced his teammate with a sac bunt and Tucker deposited double to right field to put the Gators back on top. A single by Maddox to left center pushed Tucker to third and Adams’ first sac fly of the season gave the hosts a two-run advantage.

 

The Buccaneers countered with four runs on five hits in the fifth, highlighted by three two-out singles, to build a 9-7 lead. Quattlebaum and Dolan had consecutive hits with one down before Larson caught Christmas looking on strikes. After junior Brantley Meier (4-for-5, two runs) poked a single into right center to reduce the deficit to 7-6, Larson plunked Matthews to load the bases and was replaced by Poovey. Chinners ripped a two-run single into right center to move CSU in front and Thornsburg followed with a knock into center to put the visitors ahead by two runs. Over one inning, Larson yielded three hits and was charged with four runs.      

 

UF sent a season-high 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the stanza and totaled six runs on five hits to seize a 13-9 advantage. Jonathan Pigott opened with a walk and came around to score on den Dekker’s second triple of the year. Daniel Pigott earned a free pass for runners on the corners, prompting a pitching change. Junior Jesse Cadenhead took over for McCready (5.0 IP, 10 H, 10 R) and Pigott stole second base for a pair of runners in scoring position. Tucker poked a two-run single through the right side to help the Gators re-claim the lead at 10-9. Maddox followed with his third hit of the afternoon and Adams laid down a sacrifice bunt for base-runners on second and third. Smith expanded the Gators’ lead to 12-9 with a two-run single into left field, chasing Cadenhead (0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R). Smith swiped third and Fontana earned a walk from redshirt freshman Tim Flight for runners on the corners, causing another pitching move. Fontana stole second and Zunino lofted a sacrifice fly to straightaway center field off junior Tyler Vick to give the Orange and Blue a 13-9 lead.

 

An RBI single by Chinners, his fourth hit of the day, narrowed the gap to 13-10 in the seventh. Meier began the inning with a single and took second on a wild pitch by Poovey. A grounder by Matthews pushed Meier to third and Chinners stroked another base-hit into left field. A bases-loaded walk by Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and a two-run single by Tucker off sophomore Corey Deighan (2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R) with the sacks full in the eighth finalized the scoring at 16-10.

 

The Buccaneers held an 18-16 edge in hits, with five players turning in multiple-hit outings. The duo of Tucker and Maddox were a combined 7-for-12 with five RBI and four runs for UF. The teams will wrap up the series tomorrow at 1 p.m., when sophomore Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (2-0, 1.98) faces CSU junior Tyler Thornsburg (2-1, 6.48).

         

Game Notes

·          Matt den Dekker raised his hitting streak to 22 games, matching Pat Osborn (4/6-5/18/02) and Dave Majeski (5/7/91-2/15/92) for the fourth-longest in school history.

·          The six runs in the sixth inning were the most by Florida in a frame this year.

·          Preston Tucker had at least five RBI in a game for the third time in his career.

·          With a third-inning double, Mike Zunino has now hit for the cycle during the series.

·          Over 14.2 innings this season, Brian Johnson has registered 12 strikeouts and issued one walk.

·          den Dekker and Bryson Smith scored three runs apiece.

·          Nolan Fontana reached base four times with three walks and a hit-by-pitch.

·          Jeff Barfield’s save was the second of his career and first since March 7, 2009, against Duquesne.

·          The Gators played error-free baseball for the second day in a row and seventh time this season.

 

-UF-

 

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