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Tuesday February 22, 2011No. 1 Baseball Overpowers FAU, 13-2

Jupiter, Fla.

No. 1 Florida (4-0) erupted for season-highs in hits and runs and used a strong outing from junior right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) to post a 13-2 victory over FAU (3-1) in front of 3,043 fans on Tuesday night at Roger Dean Stadium, the spring training home of the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

Working on a pre-determined pitch count, DeSclafani (1-0) threw four shutout innings, allowing three hits and totaling three strikeouts, to earn his first win since March 15 of last season against Army. Juniors Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (4-for-5, two RBI) and Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (4-for-5, two RBI, two runs) each matched career highs with four hits as part of the Gators’ 18-hit offensive attack.

 

Florida jumped out to 3-0 lead in the first inning on three unearned runs and three hits off junior left-hander Josh Gonzaga (1-1). Sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) (two runs, RBI) led off the game by reaching on a throwing error by redshirt junior third baseman Joey Burkhalter that enabled him to occupy second base. Senior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) sacrificed Fontana over with a bunt and Tucker opened the scoring with an RBI double. A grounder by sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-6) pushed Tucker to third and sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (2-for-3, two runs) delivered a double for a 2-0 advantage. Soon after, sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) deposited an RBI single into center field for a three-run margin.

 

FAU threatened in the bottom of the inning on a double by senior Raymond Church and an infield hit by senior Andy Mee that left runners on the corners with one down. DeSclafani wiggled out of the jam with a strikeout of sophomore Mark Nelson and a fly-out by senior Eddie Cassidy.

 

UF tacked on three more runs in the third on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-4) and a two-out, two-run double by Pigott. Tucker collected his second hit to start the frame but was forced at second on a fielder’s choice by Maddox. Consecutive walks to Johnson and Zunino filled the sacks and Adams picked up his first RBI of the campaign with a fly ball to right field. Pigott then cleared the bases with a two-bagger that brought across Johnson and Zunino for a 6-0 count.

 

DeSclafani had retired six-straight Owls before yielding a one-out double in the fourth by senior Colby Gratton, then set down the final five FAU hitters he faced in the outing.

 

The Gators added two more runs in the fifth off senior reliever Taylor Everist on a pinch-hit RBI single by sophomore Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and a sacrifice fly by Fontana. Everist took over for Gonzaga (4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R) prior to the start of the frame and yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Adams and Pigott. Batting for freshman Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.), Dent rifled a 1-1 offering into right center for his first hit of the season to drive in Adams. With two men in scoring position, Fontana registered his first RBI of 2011 with a fly ball to right field to give UF an 8-0 cushion.

 

Making his season debut, senior Matt Campbell (Tampa, Fla.) kept the Owls off the board in the fifth inning, featuring an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play on a grounder by junior Mike Albaladejo. Sophomore pinch hitter Nathan Pittman began the home part of the sixth with a homer off freshman Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.), ending Florida’s scoreless inning streak at 22.2 innings dating back to a first-inning run last Saturday against USF for an 8-1 deficit for the home team.

 

UF answered with four runs on five hits in the seventh to balloon the lead to 12-1. With one out, Pigott smacked his second double of the contest and Dent drew a walk from sophomore reliever Jason Boyer, who had replaced Everist (2.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R). After a fielder’s choice by Fontana forced Dent a second base, sophomore Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) singled through the left side for his first hit of the season to score Pigott. Tucker stroked a base-hit to plate Fontana, a throwing error on the play enabled Washington to score and Maddox came through with a two-out RBI single to drive in redshirt junior pinch runner Paul Wilson (Lakeland, Fla.).

 

In the seventh, Cassidy greeted Gator junior Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) with a homer to left field for an 11-2 score and Florida completed the scoring in the ninth when Wilson scored on a wild pitch. UF pounded out 18 hits, five of which were doubles, and had nine different players contribute to the hit total. Junior Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) recorded two strikeouts as part of a perfect eighth and Maddox had two punch-outs  in his collegiate pitching debut in the ninth to finish the contest.

 

The Gators return home to face Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College (2-1) in a three-game series at McKethan Stadium that starts on Thursday at 5 p.m. The teams will also play at 5 p.m. on Friday and complete the set at 1 p.m. on Sunday. For all of the latest information on Florida baseball, log on to http://www.gatorzone.com/baseball/ or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team’s Twitter account @GatorZoneBB at www.twitter.com/GatorZoneBB

 

Game Notes

·         The Gators improved to 18-6 all-time against FAU, 3-1 under Kevin O’Sullivan.

·         Florida started 4-0 for the fourth year in a row.

·         Preston Tucker had the sixth four-hit game of his career.

·         Daniel Pigott is now 8-for-12 (.667) on the season with five RBI, three doubles and three runs.

·         Jeff Moyer had a ground-rule double in the seventh for his first hit as a Gator.

·         Florida’s pitchers did not permit any walks and have walked two batters in 36 innings this season.

·         UF has out-scored its four opponents by a combined margin of 29-5.

·         Paul Wilson scored twice in his first action as a Gator.

·         The Orange and Blue did not commit any errors for the third time in four games.

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