Friday June 11, 2010No. 4 Baseball Takes Super Regional Opener Against No. 11 Miami, 7-2
Sophomore Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) went the distance for his first career complete game and established a personal best with 12 strikeouts as No. 4 Florida (46-15) defeated No. 11 Miami (Fla.) (43-19), 7-2, in the opener of the best-of-three NCAA Gainesville Super Regional on Friday night.
The crowd of 5,429 fans was a season high and the largest postseason attendance since McKethan Stadium was renovated prior to the 2007 season. The Gators will have an opportunity to clinch their first berth in next weekend’s NCAA College World Series since 2005 with a victory tomorrow at 7 p.m., live on ESPN2.
Panteliodis (11-2) retired the final 14 Hurricane hitters of the contest and yielded three hits to register UF’s first complete game since Stephen Locke accomplished the feat against Alabama on May 10, 2008. The southpaw’s effort was the first complete game by a Gator pitcher in the NCAA Tournament since Tommy Boss twirled nine innings in an 8-1 triumph over Florida State in Game 1 of the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional on June 10, 2005.
“Obviously, it all started with Alex (Panteliodis) – he was outstanding,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Anytime you have a pitcher throw a complete game in a three-game series, you have to feel good about your staff. We are rested and I think Alex had a career high for strikeouts. We jumped out to a three-run lead in the third and I think that is huge this time of year. We had the momentum and then the game shifted after they answered back and scored the two runs. We were able to get the momentum back on our side and it stayed with us for the rest of the game.”
“I talked to Alex after the eighth and told him he needed to close this game out so we could save our bullpen and he did. He only threw 116 pitches through nine complete innings, which is pretty good.”
“I was mainly moving the fastball in and out,” Panteliodis said. “I went to the off-speed for a little bit early in the game and then it was mainly fastballs after that. My team was behind me the whole time and they kept me in the game, kept me feeling confident.”
UM freshman Frankie Ratcliff led off the game with a single into center field and was sacrificed to second by senior Scott Lawson. Panteliodis worked out of trouble by having junior Yasmani Grandal fly out and then caught sophomore Harold Martinez looking on strikes.
The Gators put two runners aboard in the bottom of the inning against senior David Gutierrez (5-3) but could not draw first blood. Senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (1-for-5) sliced a one-out single through the left side and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) followed with his first of three walks and Gutierrez had freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (1-for-5, two RBI) fly out and freshman Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (2-for-4) ground out to end the frame.
UF plated three unearned runs with two out in the third on a bases-loaded infield single by Johnson and a two-run single by freshman Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) (1-for-4) with the sacks full. Senior Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) opened the frame with a base-hit and freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) (1-for-3) moved him over with a sac bunt. Gutierrez had den Dekker fly out and issued his second walk of the game to Tucker. A fielding error by freshman shortstop Stephen Perez on a grounder by Maddox loaded the bases with two down and Johnson reached on a line drive single to short that brought across Pigott with the initial run. Zunino roped a single into left field that scored the duo of Tucker and Maddox for a 3-0 lead.
Miami countered with a two-run homer by Grandal in the fourth to pull within 3-2. Lawson started the inning with a single into right field and Grandal launched his 15th round-tripper of the year over the wall in right field.
In the bottom of the inning, Florida answered with three runs on an RBI grounder by den Dekker and a two-run single by Maddox to build a 6-2 advantage. Sophomore Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) (1-for-3, two runs) earned a free pass to begin the stanza and Pigott collected his second hit before Ratcliff misplayed Fontana’s grounder at second base for an error that loaded the bags. den Dekker had a grounder to first base to bring in Thompson and Gutierrez jammed Tucker on an infield fly for the second out. Maddox came through with a two-run single up the middle that plated both Pigott and Fontana. Of his team-high 70 RBI this spring, 36 have come with two out in an inning.
After permitting a leadoff walk to freshman Michael Broad to start the fifth, Panteliodis had Perez hit into a 4-6-3 double play and had freshman Zeke DeVoss ground out. The lefty would set down every Miami batter the rest of the way.
Gutierrez was replaced by senior Jason Santana prior to UF’s fifth at bat after giving up seven hits and six runs, although just one was earned. Thompson provided the Gators with a 7-2 margin by cranking his fourth homer in the past two games over the 365-foot mark in right center field. It was his sixth big fly of the campaign and came with one down.
Freshman righty Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (8-3, 2.97) will oppose Hurricane junior lefty Chris Hernandez (10-3, 2.77) in game two tomorrow night.
· Friday’s McKethan Stadium attendance was 5,429, ranking eighth all-time in Gator history, and surpassed the attendance record for an NCAA postseason game at the venue since its expansion.
· The Gators have out-scored their opponents, 39-7, in four NCAA Tournament games and have not committed any errors in their last four games.
· Florida’s 46 wins are its highest victory total since the 2005 College World Series runner-up squad finished 48-23.
· UF is 32-3 (.914) at McKethan Stadium and sports a 21-1 (.954) record at night.
· The Orange and Blue has a 14-game winning streak at home since an 8-3 loss to Arkansas in the opener of the teams’ weekend series on April 23.
· The Gators have now scored at least seven runs against Miami in eight of the last nine matchups between the two clubs in NCAA Tournament play.
· Alex Panteliodis made his second career start against Miami in NCAA Tournament play after working 4.2 innings during the victory over the Hurricanes in the 2009 Gainesville Regional. Panteliodis is now 2-1 in his career versus UM.
· Matt den Dekker established a single-season high with his 49th RBI.
· With the victory, head coach Kevin O’Sullivan improved to 3-0 over UM in NCAA play.
· O’Sullivan has a 7-4 (.636) NCAA Tournament mark, going 0-2 at the 2008 Tallahassee Regional, 3-0 at the 2009 Gainesville Regional, 0-2 at the 2009 Gainesville Super Regional, 3-0 at the 2010 Gainesville Regional and 1-0 so far in the 2010 Gainesville Super Regional.
· Florida notched its 98th all-time win over Miami with the 7-2 victory Friday.
· The Gators are now 14-4 (.778) this year against opponents from the state of Florida.
Preston Tucker drew three walks on Friday, tying a career high for the fourth