Saturday May 1, 2010No. 6 Baseball Clinches Series With 8-5 Win Over No. 9 LSU
In the completion of Friday night’s series opener, No. 6 Florida (30-11/14-6 SEC) defeated No. 9 LSU (32-12/11-9 SEC), 8-5, on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. The victory, coupled with the Gators’ 7-3 triumph earlier today, secured the series over the defending national champions and moved UF within one game of the league lead behind No. 3 South Carolina (33-9/15-5 SEC). Sophomore Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (7-2) threw five scoreless innings on Friday to set a career high with his seventh win.
“I like the way we’re playing right now,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “The young players are starting to think that they’re pretty good and that’s the time when coaches try to stay out of the way and go a little bit. I like the effort they’re giving and we’re getting some good leadership from the older guys.”
UF opened the scoring in the first inning on an RBI single into right field by freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-4) off junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (2-2). Junior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) laced a one-out single into right field and sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) followed with a base-hit to give UF runners on the corners. Maddox lined a single that brought across Smith but Ranaudo worked out of further trouble by having freshman Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (1-for-3, two runs) hit into an inning-ending double play.
Junior Micah Gibbs (2-for-4) and senior Matt Gaudet (2-for-4) began the second with back-to-back singles off Panteliodis. A fielder’s choice by junior Leon Landry (1-for-3, two RBI) erased Gaudet at second but left runners on first and third base. Panteliodis picked Landry off first and had freshman Alex Edward ground out to end the frame.
Junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (1-for-3) cranked a three-run bomb to give Florida a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Freshman Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) (2-for-3, two runs) extended his hitting streak to five games with a one-out double and sophomore Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) (3-for-3, three RBI) lined a single off Ranaudo’s leg for runners on the corners. Adams sent a 3-1 pitch from Ranaudo into the left-field bleachers for his seventh round-tripper of the season.
UF tacked on three runs with two down in the third to build a 7-0 lead. Ranaudo was replaced by sophomore righty Joey Bourgeois prior to UF’s at bat after allowing six hits and four runs in two innings. Maddox collected his second hit with a one-out single up the middle and Johnson drew a walk for a pair of runners aboard. After senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) popped up in the infield, Zunino sliced an RBI single to plate Maddox for the fifth run. Moments later, Thompson rifled a bases-clearing triple into the right-field corner to balloon the margin to seven runs.
Landry started the fifth with a sharp single into right field and moved into scoring position on a grounder by Edward. Sophomore Tyler Hanover advanced his teammate to third with a grounder before Panteliodis had sophomore Grant Dozar ground out to Adams to close the stanza.
In the bottom of the frame, Johnson led off with a single into center field and den Dekker legged out an infield hit. Zunino laid down a sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position but then play was suspended at 9:40 p.m. with Thompson batting and a 2-1 count. Over five innings, Panteliodis allowed four singles and had a couple of strikeouts. The Gators held an 11-4 advantage in hits at the time the game was halted.
When play resumed at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, Thompson lofted a sacrifice fly off freshman Chris Cotton to score Johnson for an 8-0 lead. Sophomore Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) replaced Panteliodis on the hill and surrendered five-consecutive hits in the sixth before being taken out. The righty allowed leadoff double to sophomore Mikie Mahtook (2-for-5), sophomore Austin Nola poked a single into center and senior Blake Dean (2-for-5, two runs) smacked an RBI single through the right side to put the Tigers on the board. Gibbs narrowed the gap to 8-2 with another base-hit up the middle and Gaudet doubled to right field to drive in Dean and chase Larson. Sophomore Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) had Landry ground out, scoring Gibbs with the fourth run. Edward drew a walk for runners on the corners and Maronde plunked Dozar to load the bases. The southpaw worked out of the jam by having Hanover pop up in foul territory and struck out Mahtook to leave the sacks full.
A one-out single by Dean and a four-pitch walk to Gibbs in the seventh prompted another Gator pitching change, as junior Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) took over for Maronde (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER). Tucker misplayed Gaudet’s grounder at first base for an error, loading the bases. Landry closed the gap to 8-5 with a sacrifice fly in foul territory before Chapman had Edward fly out to strand the runners.
Thompson began the home part of the eighth with his third hit of the game and moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Adams. After Fontana drew a walk from junior Mitch Mormann (3.1, 1 H, 0 R), the righty had senior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) pop out and Tucker ground out to keep the Tigers’ deficit at three runs.
Chapman retired the side 1-2-3 in the ninth to nail down his eighth save. The left-hander collected two strikeouts and did not allow any hits or runs over 2.2 innings.
“Every game I try to come in and do the best I can,” Chapman said. “I wanted to help AP (Alex Panteliodis) get his win from last night. LSU is a really good ball club and we’re just thankful to have these two wins.”
The trio of Zunino, Thompson and Adams was a combined 6-for-9 with seven RBI and four runs as UF out-hit LSU, 12-10. Johnson (3-2, 2.91) will oppose an LSU pitcher to be announced in tomorrow’s series finale at 1 p.m., live on ESPN.
· Florida improved to 23-3 in regular-season series at McKethan Stadium under Kevin O’Sullivan.
· The Gators have defeated the Tigers in three-straight meetings.
· This weekend marked the first time that the Gators hosted the defending national champion since Miami (Fla.) was in town for the 2002 NCAA Gainesville Regional.
· Austin Maddox singled in his first two at bats for his 18th multiple-hit game of the season.
· Alex Panteliodis has worked five innings in all nine of his starts.
· Tyler Thompson had three hits in a game for the third time this season.