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Tuesday March 1, 2011No. 5 Florida State Holds Off No. 1 Baseball, 5-3

Tampa, Fla.

No. 5 Florida State (8-0) used a five-run third inning to down No. 1 Florida (7-1), 5-3, in front of 7,869 fans at the Florida Four held at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Tuesday night. The Seminolesí fourth-straight win over the Gators came in the first of the four regular-season meetings between the Sunshine State rivals.

 

After Florida pulled to within 5-3 in the sixth, FSUís relievers retired the final 10 Gator hitters to secure the victory. Sophomore right-hander Scott Sitz (2-0) worked five innings for the win, while senior Mike McGee struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his first save.†

 

FSU erupted for five runs on five hits in the third to grab a 5-0 lead. Sophomore Justin Gonzalez (2-for-3) began the inning with a single into center field and sophomore Devon Travis followed with a double down the left-field line for a pair of runners in scoring position. Junior starter Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) had junior Sherman Johnson pop up to Adams and then issued a walk to McGee to load the bases and prompt a pitching change. Over 2.1 innings, Toledo (0-1) gave up two hits and three runs, with three walks and one strikeout. Junior James Ramsey singled off junior reliever Alex Panteliodisí (Tampa, Fla.) leg to drive in Gonzalez and a throwing error on the play by sophomore first baseman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) enabled Travis to come across as well. Sophomore Jayce Boyd (1-for-4) then roped a two-run triple off the wall in left field to expand the margin to 4-0 and senior Stuart Tapley added a two-out single up the middle for a five-run advantage.

 

In the bottom of the inning, UF answered with an RBI single by junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4) off Sitz to get on the board. Freshman Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) led off with a double to left field and took third on a grounder by sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.). Senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) earned a free pass for runners on the corners and Tucker collected his team-leading 10th RBI with base-hit into right field. However, Adams was thrown out at third base on the relay and Maddox was later robbed of a hit by sophomore left fielder Seth Miller to end the inning.

 

After sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) singled and sophomore Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) walked with one down in the fourth, Sitz had junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to keep the count at 5-1.

 

Junior Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) took over for Panteliodis (2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R) prior to the sixth and worked 1.2 scoreless and hitless innings with three strikeouts. Sitz departed after five innings in which he allowed four hits and a run, with three walks and one K.

 

In the home part of the sixth, back-to-back two-out RBI singles by Washington and Pigott narrowed the gap to 5-3. Tucker greeted junior Sean Gilmartin with a sharp single into left to start the frame and Maddox followed with a base on balls. Gilmartin responded with a strikeout of sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and had Zunino pop up. Although second baseman Travis dropped the fly, he was able to force Maddox at second base for out number two as Tucker went to third. Washington ripped a single up the middle and Pigott narrowed the deficit to a pair of runs with a base-hit into left center before Gilmartin struck out Powers to close the inning.†

 

DeSclafani fanned Johnson to start the seventh but then McGee reached on a throwing error by Powers. After DeSclafani punched out Ramsey, he walked Boyd and was replaced by junior Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.). The left-hander retired Lopez on a tapper back to the mound to preserve the 5-3 score

 

Senior Daniel Bennett relieved Gilmartin (1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R) for the Gatorsí seventh and set down all six Florida batters he faced over two innings. Maronde had Tapley line out in the eighth and struck out both Miller and Gonzalez to complete a strong outing. Sophomore Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) yielded a one-out single to Johnson in the ninth and had a wild pitch to give the Seminoles a runner in scoring position. After a grounder by McGee pushed Johnson to third, Rodriguez plunked Ramsey and was replaced by junior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.), who had a fielderís choice by Boyd force Ramsey for the final out at second base. McGee came in from center field and recorded three-straight strikeouts to notch his first save of the campaign.

 

The Gators will host Miami (Fla.) (4-4) in a weekend series that starts on Friday at 7 p.m. Florida defeated the Hurricanes in four of five matchups last season, including a pair of wins in the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional that punched the teamís ticket to Omaha for the 2010 NCAA College World Series. 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 teamís Twitter account @GatorZoneBB at www.twitter.com/GatorZoneBB.†

Game Notes

         The Seminoles have now claimed nine of the 13 meetings in Kevin OíSullivanís tenure and improved to 6-0 at neutral sites.

         FSU holds a 121-96-1 advantage in the all-time series.

         The Gators entered the game having issued five walks in 63 innings and permitted a season-high five walks tonight.

         Tommy Toledo was making his first start since May 29, 2010, at the SEC Tournament against Alabama (loss, 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 K).

         Florida Stateís stolen base in the second inning was the first allowed by Florida this season.

         With two errors tonight, UF has committed just four errors in eight games this year.

         Daniel Pigott raised his hitting streak to seven games by going 1-for-4.

 

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