Tuesday April 12, 2011No. 8 Florida State Downs No. 4 Florida, 3-1
Junior right-hander Hunter Scantling (2-0) tossed seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball and matched his career high of seven strikeouts to lead No. 8 Florida State (24-9) over No. 4 Florida (26-8), 3-1, in front of 6,357 fans on Tuesday night at Dick Howser Stadium, the 13th largest crowd in the facility’s history.
With the victory, the Seminoles claimed three of the four regular-season meetings between the Sunshine State rivals. Holding a 1-0 lead in the seventh, the hosts plated a couple of runs on wild pitches and kept the Gators off the scoreboard until the ninth inning. Senior Daniel Bennett yielded an RBI single to sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (2-for-4) with one down in the final frame and UF later had a pair of runners aboard, but the right-hander prevented any more runs to notch his second save.
Florida State put a couple of runners in scoring position in the second inning but could not break the ice. Junior Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (2-1) retired the first four Seminole hitters of the contest before sophomore Jayce Boyd (2-for-4) singled into left field with one down and junior Sherman Johnson followed with a walk. Senior Stuart Tapley sacrificed his teammates over with a bunt and Panteliodis worked out of trouble by striking out sophomore Justin Gonzalez.
Junior Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) (2-for-4) collected the Gators’ first hit off Scantling to begin the third but was erased at second on a fielder’s choice by junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.). Pigott was thrown out attempting to steal second and freshman Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) went down swinging to close the frame.
The Gators mounted a two-out rally in the fourth that was snuffed out. After Scantling set down the first two batters, junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) drew a walk and sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) reached on a fielding error by sophomore second baseman Devon Travis. The right-hander answered by catching Johnson looking on strikes for his season-best fifth K.
A two-out infield single by Tapley gave the Seminoles a 1-0 lead in the home part of the inning. Junior James Ramsey extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games with a single through the right side and Boyd delivered a base-hit into shallow left field for two on with one down. Panteliodis struck out Johnson but Tapley smoked a 3-2 pitch that bounced off sophomore Nolan Fontana’s (Winter Garden, Fla.) chest and drove in Ramsey, who was running on the pitch.
Powers legged out a bunt to start the sixth and was sacrificed to second by Fontana. A grounder by senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) pushed Powers to third and Scantling had Tucker ground out to keep FSU ahead by a run.
Junior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) replaced Panteliodis to begin the bottom of the sixth. Over five full innings, Panteliodis had a season-high five strikeouts and gave up four hits and one run. Larson plunked leadoff batter senior Mike McGee and then had a fielder’s choice by Ramsey force the runner at second base before inducing an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play by Boyd.
Johnson poked a one-out single up the middle in the seventh and went to second on a grounder by sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.). However, Scantling fanned Thompson to match his career high for strikeouts (seven) and innings pitched (seven).
Soon after, the Seminoles expanded their lead to 3-0 on a pair of wild pitches. Johnson began the stanza with a base-hit through the right side and Larson caught Tapley looking on strikes for the first out. An infield hit for Gonzalez and a throwing error by third baseman Powers on the play left runners on the corners and one down. Larson uncorked a wild pitch that scored Johnson with the second run and Powers made a sliding catch in foul territory to retire senior pinch hitter Parker Brunelle for the second out. Junior Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) took over for Larson and let loose a pitch that brought in Gonzalez with the third run.
Junior Brian Busch replaced Scantling (7.0 IP, 3 H, 7 K, 1 BB) prior to the eighth and issued a four-pitch walk to Pigott to start things off. The left-hander rebounded with a strikeout of junior pinch hitter Ben McMahan (Windermere, Fla.) and had Fontana ground out, moving Pigott into scoring position. The southpaw had Adams fly out to center to close the inning.
Sophomore Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) came out of the bullpen to begin the eighth and had redshirt senior Rafael Lopez pop up before walking McGee. After a fielder’s choice by Ramsey forced McGee at second, junior Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) took over on the hill. Ramsey moved over on a stolen base and the righty whiffed Boyd to end the inning.
In the ninth, Tucker led off with a double down the left-field line to prompt a pitching change. Bennett replaced Busch (1.0 IP 1 H) and had Zunino pop out in foul territory. Johnson followed with a single into left field to score Tucker for a 3-1 margin. After Busch retired junior pinch hitter Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.) on a foul pop-up, Thompson collected his second hit of the game with a single through the right side to move redshirt junior pinch runner Paul Wilson (Lakeland, Fla.) to second base. Bennett had a ground ball by sophomore pinch hitter Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) force Thompson at second for the final out to pick up the save.
Each team finished with six hits and an error apiece. UF returns to SEC action on Friday night with the opener of a three-game series at Eastern Division rival Georgia (18-15/8-4 SEC). The game will be carried by CSS and air in Gainesville and Ocala on Channel 259 on the Cox Communications’ cable system.
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.