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Thursday March 25, 2010No. 2 Baseball Visits No. 17 Ole Miss For Weekend Series

Gainesville, Fla.

Riding a season-high six-game winning streak, No. 2 Florida (17-3/3-0 SEC) takes its first league road trip of the year to No. 17 Ole Miss (17-5/2-1 SEC). The Gators swept Mississippi State last weekend on their own turf, while the Rebels claimed two out of three meetings in Lexington over No. 20 Kentucky. Friday’s series opener will be at 7:30 p.m., game two on Saturday will be at 7 p.m. and Sunday’s finale will be at 2 p.m (ET). The final two games will be carried live on Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and will be televised on Cox Channel 21 in Gainesville.

 

In a meeting of left-handers, sophomore Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (5-0, 1.52) will face Rebel junior Drew Pomeranz (3-0, 1.23) in the first meeting between the Gators and Rebels. Entering the week, Panteliodis was tied for the SEC lead with five victories, rated fourth in the conference with a 1.52 earned run average and was fourth in opposing batting average (.177). In five appearances covering 23.2 innings, the southpaw is 5-0 and has registered 20 strikeouts in 23.2 innings. He worked a career-high 7.1 innings, scattering four hits and allowing two runs, in the SEC opener last Friday.

 

Freshman lefty Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (1-1, 4.29) will oppose UM senior right-hander Aaron Barrett (5-0, 1.69) under the lights of Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field on Saturday. In his SEC debut, Johnson yielded five hits and one run over a career-high 6.1 innings versus Mississippi State but was not involved in the decision. He has 16 K in 21.0 innings this season and has issued three walks.

 

UF rookie right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (2-0, 3.80) will start the finale against an Ole Miss hurler to be announced. He limited MSU to one runs on four hits over 5.1 innings last Sunday and matched his career high of four strikeouts. Randall has totaled 16 strikeouts and permitted six walks in 23.2 innings.

 

Trailing 8-0 in the second inning on Wednesday night, Florida reeled off 13 unanswered runs to post a 13-8 victory over Florida Gulf Coast at McKethan Stadium. The Gators used a three-run homer with two out in the fourth by senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2-for-3, four RBI) to seize the lead and UF’s bullpen closed the contest with seven shutout innings. Freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI, while Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-5, three RBI) cranked a two-run homer as part of a five-run fourth. Senior Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) made his season debut at the start of the fourth and allowed one hit over two scoreless innings to pick up his first win since March 27, 2009, against Alabama. UF drew a season-high 10 walks.

 

In UF’s last meeting with Ole Miss, Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (2-for-5) matched his career high of four RBI and belted a pair of homers for the first time as the Gators defeated Ole Miss, 12-2, in an elimination game at the SEC Tournament on May 21, 2009. The contest was halted after eight innings due to the 10-run rule and marked Florida’s first-ever mercy win at the SEC Tourney.

 

Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) yielded two runs over 5.2 innings and was supported by an offense that banged out 15 hits and scored in six of eight at bats. Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs, Avery Barnes was 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored twice and Buddy Munroe was 2-for-3 and contributed a two-run single.

 

Pigott became the first player to belt two homers in an SEC Tourney game since Todd Linden of LSU did it against Ole Miss in 2001. He had two big flies on the year entering the contest. Pigott was the 18th player in league history to have multiple homers in a Tournament game.

 

Florida was on the short end of a 2-1 series against Ole Miss at McKethan Stadium over April 17-19, 2009. Pomeranz went the distance for his first career complete game and registered a season-high nine strikeouts with a four-hitter as UM claimed a 6-2 victory in Friday night’s opener. The loss ended a 14-game home winning streak for the Gators, who had also captured their first six league outings on their own turf last year.

 

UF rebounded to even the series on Saturday behind Stephen Locke, 8-4. Over 7.2 innings, the southpaw scattered eight hits, gave up four runs and registered five strikeouts to notch his second SEC win in a row. Mike Mooney was 3-for-4 and scored twice and the Gators were able to convert four errors into five unearned runs.

 

Right-hander Scott Bittle recovered from a shaky start to lift the Rebels to a 5-3 win in Sunday’s rubber game, which was shortened to eight innings due to travel plans. Two positives for the Orange and Blue were a 3-for-4, two-RBI performance by Adams and 2.1 scoreless innings from DeSclafani out of the bullpen. It was the first league series loss at home for UF since falling twice to Arkansas (1-2, 6-1, 4-10) over April 11-13, 2008.

 

The Gators were limited to a .237 (22-for-93) batting average over the three games by the Rebels and were 0-for-2 on the basepaths. However, they committed just one error and registered a .990 fielding percentage. On the weekend, Adams went 5-for-10 (.500) with three RBI and two runs and Mooney was 4-for-10 (.400). Tucker’s career-high 10-game hitting streak ended on Sunday with a 0-for-3 performance. Over the skein, he batted .477 (21-for-44) with 31 RBI, 15 runs, seven homers and six walks.

 

Gator Bytes

*Florida is an even 2-2 away from Gainesville this season, falling to Florida State in Tampa on March 2 before taking two of three games at Miami (Fla.) over the weekend of March 5-7.

*Kevin O’Sullivan is 21-32 (.396) in road/neutral site games as a head coach but is 2-1 at Ole Miss.

*The Gators were 7-8 (.467) in SEC road games last spring: 0-3 at Arkansas, 1-2 at Vanderbilt, 2-1 at Auburn, 3-0 at Georgia and 1-2 at LSU.

*During his nine-game hitting streak, one shy of his career high, Tucker is 15-for-38 (.395) with 18 RBI, 10 runs and seven extra-base hits.

*Freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (.369) leads the Gators in an assortment of offensive categories: RBI (27), multiple-RBI games (eight), doubles (seven), home runs (six) and slugging percentage (.667).

*Fontana (.343, 18 runs) has started all 20 games at shortstop and has yet to commit an error in 87 chances. Gator shortstops combined to make 21 errors in 2009.

*den Dekker is 8-for-9 on stolen base attempts this season and is 50-for-54 in his career. He needs three thefts to pass Mark Kiger (2000-02) for 10th on the school’s all-time list.

*Junior Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) is 1-0 with a 1.20 earned run average and has collected four saves in 15.0 innings covering nine appearances. The left-hander saw action in 11 games totaling 11.1 innings last season.

*Seven of UF’s 17 wins are of the come-from-behind variety. The Gators overcame an 8-0 deficit in the second inning to post a 13-8 win against FGCU on Wednesday. UF also trailed 8-0 at No. 6 Georgia in third inning on May 1, 2009, before notching a 10-9 victory in 11 innings.

*The Gators have a .227 (5-for-22) average when pinch-hitting. Sophomore Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) has been called upon the most and is 1-for-7 (.143).

*UF is 14-for-38 (.368) with 41 RBI and one grand slam with the bases full this year.

*Sixty-four of the squad’s 146 RBI have come with two outs, good for a .438 rate.

*Florida’s eight saves this year are from four different relievers: senior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) (two), junior Chapman (four), sophomore Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) and sophomore Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.), who rates first on the squad with 22 strikeouts in 14.2 frames.

*Opposing left-handers are 1-for-15 (.067) against Chapman and righties are 8-for-38 (.211). Leadoff hitters have reached base twice in 12 opportunities against him (.167).

*With runners on base, foes are 2-for-17 (.118) against Barfield and 2-for-16 (.125) versus freshman Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.).

*On Wednesday against FGCU, Franklin made his first appearance since April 7, 2009, versus Bethune-Cookman. He registered the win by allowing one hit over two scoreless frames. Both of Franklin’s triumphs last year came in SEC play.

*The Gators are holding foes to a .225 (50-for-222) average with two outs.

*UF holds a 151-81 advantage on the scoreboard, featuring a 32-5 disparity in the sixth inning and a 21-6 edge in the fourth stanza.

*Florida is 11-0 this season when scoring first and is 12-1 when out-hitting their opponent.

 

-UF-

 

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