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Friday April 23, 2010No. 4 Arkansas Takes Opener Over No. 7 Baseball, 8-3

Gainesville, Fla.

Behind the pitching of redshirt sophomore Drew Smyly (6-0) and an offense that belted three home runs, No. 4 Arkansas (33-6/13-3 SEC) extended its winning streak to 13 games with an 8-3 victory over No. 7 Florida (26-11/10-6 SEC) on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. Smyly registered 10 strikeouts over seven full innings and the Hogs used a go-ahead homer in the sixth by sophomore Bo Bingham and a three-run blast by redshirt sophomore Collin Kuhn in the seventh to post their seventh-straight win over the Gators.


“Arkansas is a good hitting team,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “They are an experienced team, a team that has been to Omaha and knows how to win. We ran into a really good pitcher on a Friday night who was making great pitches, that’s just the way it goes. It could be different next Friday, we just have to try and get back here tomorrow and play a better game.”


The Gators opened the scoring with an RBI grounder by sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) in the first inning. Freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) led off with his sixth double off and was sacrificed to third on a bunt by senior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.). Tucker’s grounder to second base brought home Fontana for a 1-0 lead.


Arkansas redshirt junior Travis Sample (2-for-3) tied the game in the second with a two-out homer to right field off sophomore Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (6-2). It was his second homer of the season and second in as many games.


In the fourth, freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville , Fla.) reached on a throwing error by sophomore third baseman Zack Cox with one down and went to second on the play. After sophomore Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) walked on four pitches, Smyly retired senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on a pop-up and had a grounder by junior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) (2-for-4) force Pigott at second base to end the inning.


Sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) (2-for-4) singled through the left side in the fifth inning but was gunned down trying to take third on a base-hit into right field by Fontana. Kuhn retrieved Fontana’s single and fired a bullet to Cox that just beat a sliding Zunino. Jonathan Pigott delivered a two-out single up the middle for two runners aboard before Tucker struck out and reached base on a wild pitch by Smyly to load the bags. With Maddox batting, Smyly was called for a balk that resulted in a 2-1 lead for the Gators as Fontana scored. Smyly rebounded to have Maddox fly out to end the frame.


Arkansas seized a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a two-run homer by Bingham. Panteliodis issued a leadoff walk to Kuhn and Bingham connected on his second round-tripper to left center to move the Hogs in front.  


Smith laced a two-out single into left field in the home part of the sixth and moved into scoring position with his fourth stolen base. However, Smyly made junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) his ninth strikeout victim to close the inning.  


Sample opened the seventh with his fourth double and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Matt Vinson. Redshirt sophomore Tim Carver followed with a bunt single for runners on the corners, prompting a pitching change. Senior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) replaced Panteliodis (6.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 6 K) and had sophomore James McCann fly out to shallow center field for the first out. Kuhn stepped to the plate and cranked his ninth homer of the year into the left-field bleachers to build UA’s margin to 6-2.


Zunino led off the bottom of the stanza with his sixth homer to cut the deficit to 6-3. It was the rookie’s third dinger in the past two games and went to left center.


After walking junior Andy Wilkins to begin the eighth, Barfield (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R) was replaced by junior Justin Poovey (Granite Falls, N.C.). The reliever plunked junior Monk Kreder and Vinson executed a sacrifice bunt to advance both of his teammates into scoring position. Carver plated Wilkins with an RBI grounder and McCann roped a double into the left-field corner to drive in Kreder for an 8-3 advantage. The Hogs out-hit the Gators, 9-8, with five going for extra bases.


Freshman righty Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (3-3, 4.12) will start tomorrow’s game two against UA junior Brett Eibner (3-2, 3.38) at 1 p.m. The game will be carried live on FOX Sports Florida in Gainesville, Orlando and Tampa and throughout South Florida on Sun Sports.


Game Notes

·          Florida fell to Arkansas for the seventh-straight time and it was the fourth-consecutive regular-season series in which the Hogs claimed the opener.  

·          The Gators fell to 18-3 at home this spring.

·          Daniel Pigott extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games with a first-inning single up the middle.

·          Alex Panteliodis has worked at least 5.1 innings in all eight of his starts this season but has dropped his last two decisions.

·          Austin Maddox went 0-for-4 to have his nine-game hitting streak snapped.

·          UF dipped to 6-8 against ranked opponents this season.

·          The Gators have homered five games in a row.




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