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Sunday March 14, 2010Charleston Southern Downs No. 6 Baseball, 6-3

Gainesville, Fla.

Behind a complete game from junior Tyler Thornburg, Charleston Southern (6-10) salvaged the finale of its series at No. 6 Florida (11-3) with a 6-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. The right-hander (3-1) went the distance on 158 pitches and registered a career-high 11 strikeouts to end UF’s five-game winning streak overall and its stretch of nine-straight wins at home. Thornsburg scattered seven hits and walked three batters.


“It was a gutsy performance,” Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He didn’t fold the tent. That’s about as gutsy of a performance as I’ve seen in a long time.”


CSU opened the scoring in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Thornburg. Junior Brantley Meier (1-for-3, two runs) led off with a single into left center off redshirt sophomore Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (2-1) and redshirt junior Nick Chinners (2-for-4) poked a one-out single for runners on the corners. Thornburg helped his own cause with a fly ball into left field that brought home Meier.


The Buccaneers built a 3-0 lead in the third on a two-run homer by freshman Jon Matthews (3-for-5, four RBI). Meier drew a one-out walk and Matthews followed with his first career homer just over the left-field wall.


CSU expanded its margin to 5-0 on a two-run single by Matthews in the fourth. Junior Derek Smith (2-for-3) started the inning with a vicious line drive that knocked Toledo (3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 K) out of the game. Sophomore Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) took over on the hill and a sacrifice bunt by redshirt sophomore Walt Quattlebaum (2-for-3) moved Smith into scoring position. Redshirt junior Bentley Christmas and Meier earned back-to-back two-out walks to fill the sacks and Matthews delivered a single into left field to boost CSU’s margin to 5-0.   


Although the Gators loaded the bases with none out in the home part of the inning against Thornburg, they managed just one run on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.). Sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4) led off by reaching on an infield single and freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) was hit by a pitch before junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville , Fla.) (2-for-2, two walks) singled through the left side to load the bases. Thompson put Florida on the board with a sac fly to right field and Thornburg responded with strikeouts of junior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) and freshman Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) to close the frame.


The visitors regained their five-run edge in the fifth on an RBI single by Quattlebaum. Maronde (1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 4 BB) issued consecutive one-out walks to redshirt junior Matt Still and Smith and was replaced by freshman Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.). A wild pitch by the lefty gave the Buccaneers runners on the corners and Quattlebaum roped a single into right field for a 6-1 lead. Another wild pitch by Rodriguez resulted in two men in scoring position but the southpaw struck out sophomore Patrick Dolan and had Christmas line out to Maddox at first base.  


An RBI grounder by Tucker in the bottom of the inning narrowed the gap to 6-2. Senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) walked with one down and freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) singled for runners on first and third base. Tucker brought home den Dekker with a grounder to first but Thornsburg had Maddox fly out to end the inning.


Rodriguez worked a career-high four innings for UF, allowing four hits and zero runs with a pair of strikeouts. Senior Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.) came in after a one-out double by Chinners in the ninth and registered the final two outs.


With the Gators down to their final three outs, Smith started the frame with a single into left field and scored on an RBI double by Washington. Freshman Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) lofted a fly ball to straightaway center field that moved Washington to third but Thornsburg fanned den Dekker and Fontana to complete the contest. den Dekker’s career-high 22-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 performance. The Gators continue their homestand on Monday against Army (5-2) at 6:30 p.m.



Game Notes

·          The Gators lost their first game of 2010 at home after nine-straight victories. It was UF’s first defeat at McKethan Stadium since a 7-6 setback to Southern Miss in Game 2 of the NCAA Super Regional on June 7, 2009.

·          UF walked a season-high six batters and committed its first error of the series on a failed pickoff attempt.

·          Austin Maddox’s 10-game hitting streak was snapped with a 0-for-3 outing.




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