Saturday June 5, 2010No. 4 Baseball Downs Bethune-Cookman, 7-3
Freshman right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) notched a career-high 10 strikeouts over 7.1 innings as top-seeded Florida (43-15) defeated fourth-seeded Bethune-Cookman (35-21), 7-3, on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. In his NCAA Regional debut, the rookie (8-3) did not allow a hit until the fifth inning in picking up his sixth-straight victory.
The fourth-ranked Gators will meet third-seeded Oregon State (32-22) in a winner’s bracket game at 7 p.m. tomorrow live on Sun Sports, while the Wildcats face second-seeded Florida Atlantic (35-23) in an elimination game at 1 p.m. The Beavers edged the Owls, 6-4, earlier this afternoon.
“Hudson Randall was outstanding on the mound,” third-year head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We knew Bethune-Cookman would be a tough opponent. We jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but like we expected, they battled and gave it everything they had. It was hard to pull away from them. Bethune is always tough and they proved it again tonight.”
The Gators seized a 4-0 advantage with five hits in the second inning against sophomore Ali Simpson (6-2). Freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-5, two runs) led off with a single into center field and went to second on a one-out bunt single by sophomore Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (1-for-3, run). Junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) drew a walk to load the bases and freshman Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) followed with a single into left field to open the scoring. Simpson uncorked a wild pitch that enabled Pigott to score and then fanned freshman Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) for the second out. Freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) (2-for-4), who had led off the first stanza with a base-hit, delivered a two-run single into center field to bring across Adams and Zunino. Junior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) (2-for-4, run) sliced a two-out single into left field, but Fontana was cut down at the plate on a bullet from junior DJ Leonard to end the frame.
In the fourth, Dent earned a free pass with two down and moved into scoring position with his first career stolen base. After Fontana drew a walk, Simpson (3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 BB) was replaced by junior Joey Munoz. The Gators executed a double steal, with Dent taking third and Fontana moving to second, and Smith walked to fill the sacks. However, Munoz worked out of the jam with a strikeout.
The Wildcats used a two-out RBI single by sophomore Alejandro Sanchez (2-for-4) to narrow the gap to 4-1 in the fifth. Leonard had come through with Bethune-Cookman’s first hit with a one-out double just out of the reach of senior center fielder Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). Although Randall had junior Emmanuel Castro fly out, Sanchez lined a single into left field that eluded a diving Pigott to score Leonard.
Helped by a fielding error from Munoz, UF tacked on three unearned runs in the sixth to build a 7-1 advantage. Munoz notched the first two outs before Smith and sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4, run) had back-to-back singles. Maddox hit a ground ball to first base that junior Ryan Durrence fielded, but Munoz mishandled the relay, allowing Smith to score. den Dekker (2-for-4) then launched a two-run triple to the base of the wall in left center to clear the bases and provide the Gators with a six-run margin. Over two innings, Munoz gave up five hits and three unearned runs, with four strikeouts.
Leonard drove in sophomore Peter O’Brien with an RBI single in the seventh to reduce the Wildcats’ deficit to 7-2. O’Brien had registered his 14th double with one down and came home on Leonard’s second hit of the night. A two-out single by Sanchez left runners on the corners but Randall induced an inning-ending pop up by junior Matt Wright to close the inning.
Freshman Brandon Turner opened the eighth with a double and Randall punched out junior Juan Perez to become the first Gator pitcher with 10 K in an outing since Bryan Augenstein had 10 against Alabama on May 5, 2007. Senior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) whiffed senior Jeremy Davis for the second out but then yielded an RBI single to Durrence to bring B-CU within 7-3. Barfield worked the final 1.2 innings for the Gators, which held a 12-7 edge in hits.
• The Gators improved to 68-53 (.562) all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 58-38 (.604) in NCAA Regional play.
• Florida won its 43rd game of the season, surpassing last year’s 42-22 total.
• The Gators bettered their record to 24-0 all-time vs. Bethune-Cookman, including 5-0 in the NCAA Tournament.
• Florida improved to 26-9 (.743) at McKethan Stadium during NCAA play and has won seven-straight home games during NCAA Regional play.
• The Orange and Blue won their 11th-straight game at home and improved to 18-1 (.947) at home in night games this season.
• Florida improved to 32-4 (.889) when scoring first.
• The Gators are hitting .386 (27-for-70) with the bases loaded with 80 RBI and three grand slams.
• In his last 10 starts, Hudson Randall has a 2.03 ERA.
• Of Matt den Dekker’s 46 RBI’s this season, 24 have come with two outs. With two stolen bases, den Dekker also moved into a tie with Jim Watkins (1978-79) for fifth in school history with his 65th career stolen base.
• The Gators improved to 37-0 when leading after six innings.
• Preston Tucker is batting .400 (16-for-40) in his last 11 games with nine runs, seven RBI and five extra-base hits (three doubles, one triple and a homer). In six career NCAA Tournament games, Tucker is hitting .625 (15-for-24) with eight RBI, eight runs and three home runs.
• Bethune-Cookman fell to 1-19 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
• In his last three NCAA Tournament games (all in Gainesville), Ryan Durrence is hitting .417 (5-for-12) with five RBI, two runs, a double and a homer.
• DJ Leonard extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, run and a double.