Tuesday May 18, 2010No. 4 Baseball Overpowers UNF, 9-3
Freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) went 4-for-4 and drove in five runs to lead No. 4 Florida (38-12) to a 9-3 victory over UNF (29-23) on Tuesday night in front of 3,314 fans at McKethan Stadium. In addition, the rookie belted his team-leading 17th homer, a two-run shot in the fifth, to establish a Gator freshman single-season record. UF extended its winning streak to five games and has captured 12 of its last 13 outings.
“We got a really good start from Tommy Toledo and North Florida has always played us tough,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. “They’re scrappy and they’re well coached by Dusty Rhodes. It was good to get on the board early and get a 5-0 lead. I thought it gave us a little cushion and it was great to get a lot of players in there tonight. Overall, it was a great team effort and a positive way to end the regular season here at home.”
The Gators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Maddox and a two-run homer by senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (3-for-4). Freshman Josh Patton (1-2) retired the first two batters before sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4, three runs) reached on a fielding error by sophomore second baseman T.J. Gavlik. Tucker advanced to second on a wild pitch and came home on Maddox’s base-hit through the left side of the infield. den Dekker followed with his 11th dinger over the wall in right field, giving him four homers in the past six games, and raised his hitting streak to 13 games.
UNF threatened in the second by loading the bases against sophomore Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (3-1) with one down but came away empty-handed. Junior Michael Smith (2-for-4) led off with a single into center before senior Kevin Martin went down swinging. After juniors Andrew Hannon and Sam Perry (2-for-3) had back-to-back singles to fill the bags, Toledo fanned freshman Corey Bass and had Gavlik fly out to center. Working on a pitch count, the righty gave up three hits with two K over two scoreless innings and was replaced by sophomore Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.), who registered two strikeouts in an inning of work.
Florida expanded its lead to 5-0 in the third on RBI singles by junior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) and Maddox. Freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) led off with his 13th double into right center and scored on Smith’s single, with Smith taking second on the relay throw to the plate. Tucker moved his teammate to third with a fly-out and Maddox notched his 21st multiple-hit and team-best 18th multiple-RBI game with a single up the middle that brought home Smith and ended the night for Patton (2.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 ER). den Dekker greeted freshman Kyle Westwood with a double that moved Maddox to third but the right-hander rebounded to record the next two outs.
Gavlik (1-for-4, two runs) began the fifth with his first career homer over the left-field fence off junior Matt Campbell (Tampa, Fla.) to put the Ospreys on the board at 5-1.
The Gators answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run blast by Maddox to build a 7-1 lead. The slugger’s 17th big fly of the campaign established a Florida freshman record, eclipsing the mark he shared with Jason Dill (1998). Tucker had opened the frame with a single into right and Maddox launched a 1-1 pitch from Westwood into the left-field bleachers.
With two down in the sixth, Tucker ripped a run-scoring double and Maddox laced an RBI single to boost UF’s margin to 8-1. Junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second by Fontana and took third on a grounder by Smith. Tucker smacked his 14th two-bagger off the left-field wall to score Adams and Maddox followed with a hard single into center to drive home Tucker for his fifth RBI of the night. Freshman Tommy Organ replaced Westwood (3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R) and permitted one hit and zero runs over the final 2.1 innings.
Senior Preston Hale (3-for-5, two RBI) had a two-out RBI single off sophomore Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) in the seventh to score Gavlik with the Ospreys’ second run. Over a career-high three innings, Campbell allowed three hits and a run and matched his career best of two K. Senior Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.) threw a scoreless eighth before freshman Michael Heller (Bradenton, Fla.) yielded an RBI single to Hale in the ninth that completed the scoring at 9-3.
Florida resumes action on Thursday with the opener of its three-game series at No. 6 South Carolina (42-11/20-7 SEC) that will determine the conference title. The game will begin at 7 p.m. from Carolina Stadium and be shown live in Gainesville on Cox Cable Channel 6, then on tape delay on Sun Sports at 11:30 p.m.
· Florida finished the regular season with an 18-5 (.783) record against non-conference opponents and improved to 12-4 (.750) against Sunshine State foes this season.
· With their 10th-consecutive home win, the Gators boosted their record at McKethan Stadium to 28-3 (.903). The school record for wins in a season at home is 35, set in 1998 (35-5).
· UF evened the all-time series against UNF at 4-4, as head coach Kevin O’Sullivan moved his ledger to 4-2 (.667).
· Matt den Dekker’s 13-game hitting streak matches his longest during the season, as he had a hit in UF’s first 13 games as part of a 22-game streak dating back to last spring.
· Austin Maddox ranks second in the nation among freshmen with 17 homers.