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Sunday May 16, 2010No. 4 Baseball Finishes Sweep of Georgia, 9-3

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 4 Florida (37-12/20-7 SEC) completed its first sweep of Georgia (14-36/3-22 SEC) at McKethan Stadium since 2000 with a 9-3 victory on Sunday afternoon in front of 4,324 fans. The three-game attendance of 14,619 was the highest for a weekend series in school history. The Gators broke open a 2-1 contest by scoring seven runs with two down in the sixth to remain tied on top of the Southeastern Conference standings entering their final series of the regular season at No. 7 South Carolina (41-11/20-7 SEC).

 

“We gave up one walk, that was positive,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “(Brian) Johnson had a quality start again, pitching into the sixth, and really battled when (Zach) Cone had the leadoff double. At that point it was a 2-1 game and (Jeff) Barfield came in and did a great job. I also thought (Anthony) DeSclafani was outstanding and that his stuff was good today. That’s encouraging.”

 

Freshman left-hander Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (5-2) retired the first eight hitters of the game before sophomore Johnathan Taylor (2-for-3) legged out an infield single and sophomore Peter Verdin (3-for-5) followed with a base-hit into left field during the third. Johnson had freshman Todd Hankins fly out to end the inning.  

 

In the bottom of the frame, Florida seized a 2-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (1-for-3, two RBI) and an RBI single by sophomore Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach., Fla.). The Gators loaded the bases with none out, as junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville , Fla.) (1-for-3, two runs) and freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) delivered back-to-back singles into right field and senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) drew a walk from sophomore Michael Palazzone (4-6). Tucker lofted his third sacrifice fly of the year into left field to bring across Adams with the initial run. After Palazzone fanned freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.), Pigott drove in Fontana with a single into left but was thrown out trying to take second on the relay throw.

 

Johnson set down the first two Bulldogs in the fourth before sophomore Zach Cone (2-for-4) singled and freshman Brett DeLoach was hit by a pitch. Georgia executed a double steal to advance both runners into scoring position and redshirt Kevin Ruiz punched a single into center field that scored Cone. However, den Dekker fired a perfect strike to sophomore catcher Ben McMahan (Windermere, Fla.) to nail DeLoach at the dish and keep the Gators ahead, 2-1.

 

Taylor earned a one-out walk in the fifth and Verdin followed with a single into right field for runners on the corners. Johnson induced a pop-up bunt by Mankins and had sophomore Levi Hyams fly out to center field to end the threat.

 

Fontana collected his second hit of the day to begin the inning and moved to second with his ninth theft with one down. Palazzone worked out of the jam by having Tucker and Maddox fly out.

 

Cone led off the sixth with his 12th double and Johnson rebounded to strike out freshman Kyle Farmer and retire DeLoach on a grounder that pushed Cone to third. Senior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) replaced Johnson (5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 K) and had Ruiz fly out to center field on his first pitch to preserve the one-run edge.

 

Palazzone went five innings in which he scattered six hits, with five strikeouts and two runs. The Gators took advantage of six-consecutive two-out walks and tallied seven runs in the sixth to build a 9-1 advantage. Sophomore Chase Hawkins yielded a one-out single to junior Bryson Smith (Cartersville, Ga.) (2-for-3, two RBI) before a bunt by senior pinch hitter Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was fielded by the pitcher and thrown to second to erase Smith. McMahan (2-for-4) stroked a single into right center to advance Pigott to third and prompt another pitching change. McMahan moved into scoring position with his second stolen base of the afternoon and freshman Malcolm Clapsaddle walked Adams to load the bases. Fontana drew a walk to score Pigott for a two-run Gator advantage and force another call to bullpen. Freshman Blake Dieterich came in and issued back-to-back walks to den Dekker and Tucker that brought home McMahan and Adams, respectively, for a 5-1 lead. Sophomore Cecil Tanner took the mound and walked Maddox to bring across den Dekker for a 6-1 cushion. The righty let loose a wild pitch that brought home den Dekker to increase the margin to 7-1 and advance the runners. Daniel Pigott earned another free pass to re-load the bases and summon freshman Cooper Moseley from the bullpen. Smith delivered a two-run single into right field to balloon the margin to 9-1 and become the first Florida player with two hits in an inning since Brandon McArthur accomplished the feat against Miami (Fla.) on May 31, 2009, during the NCAA Gainesville Regional.

 

Sophomore Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) replaced Barfield, who retired all four batters he faced, and plunked freshman Robert Shipman and Hyams before taken out in the eighth. Sophomore Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) had Cone force Hyams at second base but Shipman was able to score on a throwing error by freshman Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) as he attempted to complete a double play. Soon after, DeSclafani induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play by Farmer. The Bulldogs finalized the scoring in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by Taylor.

 

Florida will wrap up its non-conference schedule on Tuesday night at home versus North Florida (29-22/14-9 Atlantic Sun). First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m.

 

Game Notes

·          Florida increased its winning streak to eight games over Georgia.

·          The series attendance of 14,619 eclipsed the previous best of 13,962 set during the Florida-LSU series from April 24-26, 1998.

·          The Gators improved to 27-3 at home this season, 13-2 in league action.

·          Florida raised its mark to 9-3 against Eastern Division foes this year.

·          UF was 5-for-5 basepaths this afternoon and 10-for-11 in the series.

·          The seven runs in the sixth matched Florida’s season high (at Tennessee, 4/11, and at USF, 4/21).

·          Matt den Dekker extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a leadoff single in the eighth.

·          Ben McMahan collected his third double of the season in the fourth inning and had a career-high two stolen bases.

 

-UF-

 

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