Wednesday March 23, 2011No. 1 Florida Blanks Winthrop, 10-0
No. 1 Florida (20-2) completed a two-game sweep of Winthrop (9-11), 10-0, with a four-hit shutout on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. After plating single runs in the first, second and third innings, the Gators erupted for seven runs on six hits in the sixth to increase their winning streak to 10 games. Junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4, three RBI) belted his fifth homer and also had an RBI double during the sixth, when the hosts sent a dozen batters to the plate.
Junior left-hander Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (2-0) worked a season-high six innings, allowing three singles, before senior Matt Campbell (Tampa, Fla.), freshman Keenan Kish (Worcester, Pa.), freshman Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) and junior Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) finished up UF’s fifth shutout of the campaign.
“It was a good start by AP (Alex Panteliodis),” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We wanted to get him out there and keep him 60 pitches or so and to have him available for the weekend. I thought he was really efficient with six innings and 61 pitches I believe. He pitched ahead in the count, threw a lot of first-pitch strikes and we swung the bat well. We got on the board early and I think any time we get an early lead, we feel good about it. We had one run in each of the first three innings and obviously we got up there in the sixth.”
A two-out throwing error by Winthrop senior shortstop Adam Gliebe enabled the Gators to open the scoring in the first inning. Sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) (2-for-3, two runs) led off with a single into right field, matching his career-high hitting streak of eight games. A fielder’s choice by junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) forced Fontana at second base but then Pigott moved into scoring position with his third stolen base. A grounder with two down by sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) looked to end the inning for sophomore Matt Pierpont (0-2), however, a wild throw allowed Pigott to come across with the initial run.
Sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single to begin the second and advanced on a grounder by junior Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.). A wild pitch by Pierpont pushed Zunino to third and senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) gave the Gators a 2-0 lead with his team-leading third sacrifice fly into center field.
Florida tacked on another run in the third on an RBI grounder by Tucker that scored Fontana. Fontana had opened the frame with his fifth double and was sacrificed over on a bunt by Pigott before Tucker collected an RBI with a ground ball to first base.
Sophomore Patrick Gamblin opened the fourth with a towering fly ball to left field that seemed destined for the bleachers. However, Pigott made a leaping grab at the fence for the first out. After yielding a single into shallow center field by senior Eddie Rohan that inning, Panteliodis retired the next seven Eagles until a two-out base-hit in the sixth by Gamblin.
Pierpont had a run of 10-consecutive Gators set down before Tucker cranked his fifth homer off the scoreboard overlooking right field in the sixth inning for a 4-0 advantage. Florida would put the game out of reach with seven runs on six hits in the frame to build a 10-0 lead. Maddox drew a walk and sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and Zunino each followed with singles to load the bases with one down. Sophomore Rob Brewer was called out of the bullpen for Pierpont (5.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R) and walked Moyer to bring in Maddox with the fifth run. Adams greeted junior Kenny Monteith with a two-run single into right field for a 7-0 margin and a two-out wild pitch by the reliever enabled Moyer to come racing home from third base for an eight-run cushion. Fontana earned a free pass for two runners aboard and Pigott stroked an RBI single up the middle that brought home Adams for a nine-run lead. Tucker came through with his second hit of the inning, a double down the right-field line, to bring in Fontana. The seven-run inning matched UF’s highest output in a frame this season, as it had also scored seven in the second against Rhode Island on March 12.
Over a season-high six scoreless innings, Panteliodis permitted three singles, with two strikeouts, before Campbell took the mound prior to the seventh. The right-hander picked up the first two outs in the stanza before Gliebe singled and freshman Leighton Daniels was hit by a pitch. Campbell had redshirt junior Cam Walters hit a comebacker to the mound that ended the inning.
After Kish kept the Eagles off the board in the eighth, Crawford started the ninth and plunked leadoff batter junior Justin Hopper before uncorking a wild pitch that moved the runner to second. The righty caught freshman TJ Olesczuk looking on strikes and then fanned freshman pinch hitter Reid Langdale, but a wild pitch allowed Langdale to reach and Hooper to occupy third. Maronde was pressed into service and the Gators used a double play to complete the contest, as Daniels went down swinging and Langdale was picked off first base to finalize the action. Florida held an 11-4 advantage in hits and out-scored Winthrop, 32-5, over the two games.
The Gators return to SEC action this weekend by hosting defending national champion No. 4 South Carolina (16-4/2-1 SEC) in a three-game series starting on Friday at 7 p.m. The opener will be streamed live on GatorVision Online.
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· Florida improved to 15-1 at home this season.
· Sixteen of Preston Tucker’s 31 homers have been solo shots.
· Tucker homered and had a double in the sixth inning to become the first Gator with two hits in the same inning since Tyler Thompson accomplished the feat in the third inning against Oregon State in the NCAA Gainesville Regional on June 6, 2010.
· Nolan Fontana’s eight-game hitting streak matches his career high, set from Feb. 21-March 12, 2010.
· Mike Zunino’s 10-game hitting streak is two shy of his career best of 12 games from April 21-May 15, 2010.
· The Gators’ five shutouts are the squad’s most since 1996 (five).