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Friday April 1, 2011Randall Tosses Four-Hitter As No. 3 Florida Blanks Tennessee, 3-0

Gainesville, Fla.

Sophomore Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout on 74 pitches as No. 3 Florida (22-5/5-2 SEC) defeated Tennessee (19-7/2-5 SEC), 3-0, in the series opener between the Eastern Division rivals on Friday night in front of 4,222 fans at McKethan Stadium.

 

In becoming the first Gator pitcher to notch back-to-back complete games since Tommy Boss accomplished the feat against North Carolina and Florida State on June 4 & 10, 2005, Randall was the first UF pitcher to register a complete-game shutout since Boss held UCLA scoreless at the NCAA Oklahoma City Regional on June 6, 2004.

 

In improving his season ledger to 5-0, Randall gave up four singles and had four strikeouts while lowering his SEC-leading earned run average to 0.54. He has not surrendered an earned run in 30.1 innings dating back to the second inning against Rhode Island on March 12. Randall yielded an unearned run in the second inning to defending national champion South Carolina last Saturday night in a 2-1 victory and has now totaled 16.2 consecutive scoreless innings. Over three conference starts against No. 5 LSU, No. 4 South Carolina and Tennessee, the righty is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 10 strikeouts and zero walks in 24.2 IP.

 

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “A complete game on 74 pitches? I think Hudson only threw 15 balls the whole night. It’s phenomenal. I thought that last week was the best I’ve ever seen him pitch and he topped it this week. It was a special, special night for Hudson and obviously for us.”

 

“Hudson really understands how to pitch. It’s about location, movement and velocity in that order. He understands that location is the most important aspect of the pitch, movement is second and velocity is third. He trusts that his team is behind him and we play good defense behind him because of it.”

 

“It was good coming out here Friday because I’m not usually a Friday guy,” Randall said. “Hopefully, I defined my role tonight. I just wanted to start us off on the right foot and get the tone set for the weekend by taking the first one. We put ourselves in a great position for the rest of the series.”

 

Randall was supported by a Gator offense that tallied 10 hits, highlighted by a two-run homer by sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) in the second inning and a 3-for-4 outing by senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.).

 

Randall retired the first five Vol hitters of the game before junior Charley Thurber legged out a bunt with two down in the second inning. The single ended a stretch of 24-consecutive batters set down by Randall that was three shy of the school record established by sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) earlier this season. A passed ball by sophomore catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) pushed Thurber to second before Randall had senior Tyler Horne pop up.

 

In the bottom of the frame, Maddox provided the Gators with a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer off senior Rob Catapano (2-1). Junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4) had sliced a one-out single up the middle and Maddox followed with his second round-tripper of the season to left field into the Stephen C. O’Connell Center parking lot. The big fly enabled Maddox to collect his first RBI since March 12 against Rhode Island.

 

Adams smoked a single to begin the home part of the fifth, went to second on a passed ball by junior catcher Matt Ramsey and was sacrificed to third on a bunt by freshman Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.). Catapano worked out of trouble with a strikeout of sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) and a fly-out by junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.).

 

Randall put down six-straight Tennessee batters before senior Josh Liles reached on a one-out fielding error by Fontana in the sixth. Zunino gunned down Liles attempting to steal second and Randall had freshman Andrew Toles ground out to end the frame.

 

In the home part of the seventh, redshirt sophomore Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) delivered a pinch-hit single with one down for his initial hit as a Gator and Adams followed with a single for two runners aboard. A fielder’s choice by Powers forced Ramjit at third base and an infield hit by Fontana loaded the bases and prompted a pitching change. Sophomore Nick Blount took over for Catapano (6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R) and had Pigott fly out to hold Tennessee’s deficit at two runs.

 

Zunino raised his hitting streak to 15 games with a one-out single in the eighth off UT redshirt sophomore reliever Hunter Daniel. Tucker picked up his second single of the contest, bringing junior Jerod Peper out of the bullpen for the visitors. A fly ball to center field by Maddox advanced Zunino to third and Tucker later stole second for a couple of runners in scoring position. Peper walked junior pinch hitter Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.) to fill the bags with two down and was replaced by freshman Carter Watson. The righty uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Zunino to come across for a 3-0 score. Watson rebounded to have Adams fly out to strand the runners.

 

Johnson (4-1, 2.86) will start for the Gators tomorrow at 1 p.m. against Vol junior left-hander Steven Gruver (3-2, 2.79). The game will be carried on CSS and be shown on Channel 199 on the Cox Communications’ cable system in Gainesville and Ocala.

 

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

·         Florida improved to 17-3 at home and ended a two-game losing streak.

·         The Gators posted their sixth shutout of the season.

·         Austin Maddox matched his season high of two RBI (Miami (Fla.), 3/4).

·         Kamm Washington and Zack Powers contributed sacrifice hits for UF.

·         Josh Adams notched his ninth multiple-hit game of the year.

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