Tuesday March 15, 2011Pigott's Walk-Off Single In 10th Lifts No. 1 Florida Past No. 4 Florida State, 5-4
Junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) delivered a walk-off single in the 10th inning that scored sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Springs, Fla.) with the winning run as No. 1 Florida (15-2) edged No. 4 Florida State (15-2), 5-4, on Tuesday night in front of a record crowd of 5,930 fans at McKethan Stadium. The Seminoles used a four-run third to grab the lead but were held scoreless for the final seven innings of the contest. The teams have now split two of their four regular-season meetings, with contests remaining in Jacksonville on March 29 and in Tallahassee on April 12.
After junior right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) (3-0) retired the Seminoles in order to begin each club’s first extra-inning affair of the season, Fontana ripped a one-out triple into the right-field corner off FSU senior Mike McGee (0-1). Pigott (3-for-4) battled to a 3-2 count before slicing a single into center field that snapped a four-game slide for the Gators against their Sunshine State rivals. The game-winning hit represented Pigott’s career-best fourth RBI of the night and the junior is hitting a team-best .483 (28-for-58).
“I knew (Mike) McGee was a competitor,” said Pigott. “I knew he was going give me a hard time up there but you just have to go out there with the best mind-set. As a team, we don’t really get down that much. We know someone is going to pick us up somewhere in the game. Everybody is going out there with the intent to do the best they can. I’m very happy with the way I’m seeing the ball right now, but every day’s a new day.”
“Personally I’m worn out,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I don’t quite remember being involved in a game played like that. There were so many pitching changes and so many different pitchers. They used their bench, we used our bench in the back-and-forth game. Obviously, Daniel has been our hottest hitter so far and came through in the clutch again.”
The Seminoles loaded the bases with two down in the first inning against junior Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) but came away empty-handed. Sophomore Devon Travis opened the game with a single through the right side of the infield and McGee drew a one-out walk before Panteliodis caught junior James Ramsey looking on strikes. Sophomore Jayce Boyd was hit to fill the bags with two down and the lefty had redshirt senior Rafael Lopez fly out to center field.
Florida State used a pair of two-run homers by Ramsey (1-for-5) and sophomore Justin Gonzalez (1-for-4) to take a 4-0 lead in the third. McGee made it three-straight innings in which the first Seminole batter reached with a single up the middle and Ramsey followed with his second round-tripper of the season over the right-field fence. After surrendering a double to Lopez, Panteliodis (2.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R) was replaced by junior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.). The righty struck out senior Stuart Tapley and then allowed a two-out, two-run homer to Gonzalez that landed in the left-field bleachers.
The Gators answered in the bottom of the frame with a two-out RBI double by Pigott that narrowed the gap to 4-1. Senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) punched a single into center field for UF’s first hit off junior Hunter Scantling and moved to second on a grounder by freshman Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.). After Adams went to third on a grounder by Fontana, Pigott smacked his team-leading 10th double to left center to put Florida on the board.
In the fourth, sophomores Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (2-for-4) had back-to-back one-out singles and junior Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) pulled Florida within 4-2 with a base-knock up the middle. The Seminoles summoned sophomore Daniel Benincasa from the bullpen for Scantling (3.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 K) and he fanned Adams. FSU then brought redshirt junior Connor Nolan in and the lefty issued a walk to junior pinch hitter Ben McMahan (Windermere, Fla.) to load the bases with two down. Senior Tye Buckley became the visitors’ fourth different pitcher of the inning and had Fontana ground out.
Pigott drew a leadoff walk in the fifth and moved into scoring position on a one-out walk to sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.). A fielder’s choice by Johnson forced Maddox at second as Pigott went to third and FSU made another call to the pen. Redshirt junior Mack Waugh induced a line drive by Fontana that right fielder Ramsey made a tremendous catch on to end the inning.
Junior Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) took over for Larson (3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R) prior to the seventh and fired a 1-2-3 inning, highlighted by strikeouts of junior Sherman Johnson and Ramsey. In the home part of the frame, Fontana earned a free pass from Waugh and Pigott had a 2-0 count when Waugh (1.1 IP) was replaced by senior Daniel Bennett. The reliever threw two-straight balls to Pigott for a walk and then had both junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) and Maddox fly out. Johnson drew a two-out walk to fill the sacks full of Gators and Bennett had Zunino hit a comebacker to the mound to strand all of the runners.
Maronde yielded a one-out single to Lopez in the eighth and then hit Tapley before junior Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) struck out Gonzalez. Sophomore Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) permitted a two-out single into right field by sophomore Seth Miller but Lopez was gunned down at the plate on a bullet from Tucker to Zunino to keep the Gators’ deficit at two runs.
In the eighth, junior Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.) had a one-out pinch-hit single and sophomore Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) followed with a pinch-hit double. Fontana earned his second free pass of the game to load the bases with one down and Pigott delivered a clutch two-run single up the middle to tie the game and end the night for Bennett (1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R). Senior Robby Scott had Tucker pop up and was relieved by redshirt junior Jack Posey. The righty had a grounder by Maddox force Pigott at second to keep the contest tied.
DeSclafani came in for Rodriguez (0.1 IP, 1 H) at the start of the ninth and out down the Seminoles in order. Johnson led off with an infield single and redshirt junior pinch runner Paul Wilson (Lakeland, Fla.) moved into scoring position with his first career stolen base. A wild pitch by Posey pushed Wilson to third and the righty countered with a strikeout of Zunino. McGee came in from center field and had Thompson ground out and Moyer fly out to right field to send the contest into extra innings.
UF held an 11-9 edge in hits and neither team committed any errors. The hosts stranded a season-high 13 runners and equaled their season high of drawing eight walks.
The Gators will begin the 30-game SEC schedule on Friday at No. 5 LSU (15-1) at 7 p.m. The series opener will be carried live on CSS, Channel 259 on Cox Communications in Gainesville and will also be streamed on ESPN3.com. 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.
· The crowd of 5,930 eclipsed the previous high of 5,783 fans for the second game of the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional between Florida and Miami (Fla.) on June 12, 2010.
· The Gators improved to 4-0 versus the Seminoles at McKethan Stadium under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.
· The last time the teams played extra innings before tonight was a 7-6 UF win in 11 innings in Gainesville on March 31, 2004.
· Both Florida and Florida State gave the fans free baseball for the first time apiece this year.
· UF is now 13-1 at home and extended its winning streak to five games.