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Sunday March 28, 2010No. 2 Baseball Takes Finale At No. 17 UM, 13-1

Oxford, Miss.

Behind 5.1 strong innings from freshman left-hander Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and three RBI apiece from freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sophomore Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.), No. 2 Florida (18-5/4-2 SEC) salvaged the finale of its weekend series at No. 17 Ole Miss (19-6/4-2 SEC) with a 13-1 win on Sunday afternoon in front of 6,116 fans at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. In picking up his first league victory, Johnson (2-1) did not allow any earned runs and was supported by a Gator offense that registered 15 hits and tallied multiple runs in the third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth innings to avoid the sweep.

 

Maddox (2-for-4, three RBI, two runs) opened the scoring with his team-leading seventh homer into the visiting bullpen in right field to start the second inning. It came on a 2-0 offering from junior Trent Rothlin (3-2) and boosted the rookie’s hitting streak to seven games.  

 

Ole Miss threatened in the bottom of the frame, when freshman Alex Yarbrough was hit by a pitch from Johnson and senior David Phillips followed with a base-hit into center field. The Rebels attempted a double steal but freshman catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) gunned down Phillips trying to take second as Yarbrough advanced to third. Johnson had sophomore Taylor Hightower ground out to end the inning.

 

Florida increased its lead to 4-0 in the third on an RBI single by junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (1-for-4, two runs) and a two-run, two-out single by Maddox. Sophomore Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) (3-for-5, two runs) started the inning with a single into left field and moved into scoring position on a grounder by Zunino. After senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs, two RBI) was hit by a pitch on a 0-2 count, Adams raked Rothlin’s next pitch into left field to score Thompson. With two down, the Gators executed a successful double steal with den Dekker and Adams and the move paid off when Maddox punched a two-run single up the middle for a 4-0 cushion to chase Rothlin (2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R).

 

The Gators plated two runs on three hits and used another double steal in the fourth against junior Matt Tracy to build a 6-0 advantage. Freshman Kamm Washington ( Boynton Beach, Fla.) (2-for-5) delivered his second double of the year with one down and Thompson poked a single into right field for runners on the corners. Soon after, Thompson broke for second and Washington took off for home, with Thompson beating the throw to second and Washington scoring. den Dekker came through with a two-out single into center field to drive in Thompson.

 

Pigott ripped a two-run single with the bases full of Gators in the fifth for an 8-0 cushion. Adams drew a leadoff walk and sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-5, two runs) cranked his sixth double into left center for two runners aboard before freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) was plunked with one down to fill the bags and prompt another pitching change. Junior Eric Callender replaced Tracy (1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R) and Pigott greeted the righty with a two-run base-knock through the left side.

 

Senior Kevin Mort began the sixth for UM with a single into left field and junior Tim Ferguson reached on a fielding error by Maddox at third. A grounder by senior Taylor Hashman advanced the runners and ended the afternoon for Johnson. Over 5.1 innings, the lefty gave up four hits and zero earned runs, with three strikeouts and a walk. An RBI grounder by redshirt junior Matt Smith off senior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) brought in Mort for an 8-1 margin.

 

The Gators added a pair of runs in the seventh on a grounder by Pigott, who matched his career high of three RBI, and a two-out single by Washington. Tucker started the stanza with his second two-bagger of the afternoon and Maddox was hit by a pitch. Fontana lofted a fly ball to the warning track that pushed Tucker to third and Pigott scored his teammate with a grounder to second base. Washington then increased Florida’s lead to 10-1 with a sharp single into left field, ending the day for Callender (2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R).

 

den Dekker belted his fourth homer with one down in the eighth to right center off redshirt sophomore David Goforth for an 11-1 bulge. Sophomore Jerico Weitzel (Ridgway, Pa.) finalized the scoring at 13-1 with his first career homer, a pinch-hit two-run dinger in the ninth off redshirt freshman Brett Huber. Freshman Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) had reached on a pinch-hit single before Weitzel clubbed a bomb into the visiting bullpen.

 

The Gators held a 15-6 advantage in hits, while Barfield (1.2 IP), senior Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 1 H) and junior Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 1 H) combined to throw 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

 

UF returns to action on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. with the third of four regular-season encounters against No. 6 Florida State (19-4/6-3 ACC). The Gators and Seminoles will meet at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and the contest will be televised live on Sun Sports.

        

Game Notes

·          Eight of Florida’s nine starters reached base today.

·          The Gators matched their season high of three home runs set against USF on Feb. 19.

·          Austin Maddox had multiple hits in all three games of the series, giving him a team-high 12 on the season.

·          Maddox hit .429 (6-for-14) in the series and drove in six runs.

·          Preston Tucker notched two doubles in a game for the second time this season and the fifth time in his career.

·          Florida was 4-for-6 on stolen-base opportunities, including its second theft of home this year.

 

-UF-

 

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