Friday April 29, 2011No. 4 Florida Downs Ole Miss, 9-3
Senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) and redshirt sophomore Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) each went 4-for-5 and No. 4 Florida (32-10/15-4 SEC) banged out 17 hits and scored in seven of its eight at bats to defeat Ole Miss (24-18/9-10 SEC), 9-3, in the series opener on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. Sophomore right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (8-1) yielded six hits and three runs and matched his season high with six strikeouts over 7.1 innings for the win, while five Gators turned in multiple-hit outings.
The victory enabled Florida to keep pace with No. 2 Vanderbilt (36-5/15-4 SEC) and No. 3 South Carolina (33-8/15-4 SEC) on top of the league and Eastern Division standings. The Commodores handled Tennessee, 10-1, and the Gamecocks edged Auburn, 2-1.
“Our offensive approach was outstanding tonight,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I think that we scored in every inning but one. The only glitch in the whole deal was that we had the bases loaded with nobody out in the fifth and we didn’t push anybody across. It’s hard to be upset about that one inning. They (Ole Miss) applied pressure the whole night but we got a lot of runners on. Hudson (Randall) pitched great, they’re a good offensive team and we’re going to have our hands full tomorrow as well.”
Sophomore Alex Yarbrough opened the scoring for the Rebels in the first inning with a one-out homer to right center off Randall. It was his fifth round-tripper of the season.
Although the Gators loaded the bases with one down in the bottom of the frame against junior Matt Crouse (6-3), they used a sacrifice fly by sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-4, two RBI) to even the game. Senior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) (2-for-4, two runs) led off with a base-hit up the middle and sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) followed with a walk before a one-out single by junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (1-for-4, two runs) loaded the bases. Maddox flew out to foul territory in right field, scoring Smith, and Crouse had sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (2-for-4, two RBI) pop up to keep the contest tied.
Smith delivered a two-out RBI single in the second that brought across Ramjit for a 2-1 Gator lead. After Crouse retired the first two hitters, Ramjit roped a double into left field for his first extra-base hit at UF. Smith sent the lefty’s next pitch into left field to drive in Ramjit.
“I’m just here to help the team,” Ramjit said. “Everybody knows that I transferred here from Miami and these coaches have been nothing but great supporting me and driving me a lot. It felt great to contribute to this team. It means a lot to me, but it’s just day one.”
Ole Miss countered with the tying run in the third on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Tanner Mathis (2-for-3). Freshman Austin Anderson (3-for-3) stroked a leadoff double to right field and was sacrificed to third by junior Blake Newalu. Mathis plated his teammate with a sac fly into right field.
Florida re-claimed the lead at 3-2 in the home part of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Johnson. Tucker earned a free pass with one down and Maddox rifled a single into right center for runners on the corners. Johnson’s second sac fly of the campaign to straightaway center field brought across Tucker and Adams raised his hitting streak to a season-high eight games with a two-out single. Crouse set down junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) on a comebacker to the mound to strand the runners.
Randall plunked senior Matt Smith to begin the fourth, had senior Matt Tracy hit into 1-6-3 double play and fanned junior Matt Snyder for the second time in the contest.
Sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) connected on a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth for a 5-2 advantage for the hosts. Ramjit led off with his second double of the game and Smith was hit by a pitch for a pair of runners on base. Fontana advanced his teammates into scoring position with his sixth sacrifice bunt and Zunino ended a 0-for-11 drought against the Rebels in his career with a flare into left center.
Anderson pulled Ole Miss within 5-3 with a two-out solo homer in the fifth that cleared the right-field wall. Johnson answered in the bottom of the frame with a towering blast that hit the top of the scoreboard overlooking right field, ending the night for Crouse (4.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R). It was Johnson’s third dinger and first since April 17 at Georgia. Adams and Pigott greeted senior reliever Eric Callender with consecutive singles and Ramjit legged out a bunt to fill the bags with none out. However, Callender struck out Smith, had a fielder’s choice by Fontana erase Adams at the plate and coaxed a grounder from Zunino to hold the Rebels’ deficit at 6-3.
A leadoff double in UF’s seventh by Adams prompted another pitching change, as junior R.J. Hively took over for Callender (2.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R). After the righty struck out Pigott, Ramjit boosted the Gators’ margin to 7-3 with a base-knock through the right side for his fourth hit of the night.
After Anderson doubled to open the eighth, Randall got Newalu to ground out, keeping the runner on second base. Junior Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) was summoned from the bullpen for Randall (7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 6 K) and yielded an infield single to Mathis for runners on the corners. The southpaw struck out Yarbrough and was replaced by junior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.), who had a grounder by Smith force Mathis at second base to end the inning.
The Gators tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the stanza on RBI singles by Maddox and Adams to finalize the 9-3 margin. Zunino drew a leadoff walk but was forced at second on a grounder by Tucker, who moved into scoring position with his third stolen base of the season. Maddox sliced a single into center that scored Tucker and Johnson followed with a base-hit into right field, causing another call to the bullpen, Senior Trent Rothlin uncorked a wild pitch that moved Maddox to third and sophomore pinch runner Kamm Washington (Boynton Beach, Fla.) to second and Adams smashed his fourth hit of the night to score Maddox. Pigott drew a walk to load the bases with one down but Rothlin struck out Ramjit and had junior pinch hitter Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.) ground out.
Larson worked one scoreless inning, scattering two hits, with freshman Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) recording the final out of the contest with a strikeout. Florida held a 17-9 advantage in hits, including three doubles and a homer, and neither team committed any errors. Johnson (6-1, 2.53) will meet Rebel junior righty David Goforth (3-5, 4.60) in tomorrow’s second game of the set at 7 p.m. The game will be carried on GatorVision Online.
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 Gators improved to 23-4 at home this season and are now 2-2 against Ole Miss at McKethan Stadium during Kevin O’Sullivan’s tenure.
· Vickash Ramjit entered the game with four hits on the year, as he had been 4-for-12 (.333).
· Ramjit made his third start of the campaign, first at first base after serving as the designated hitter twice.
· Josh Adams’ four hits were a season-high, his career high of five was set at Auburn on April 11, 2009.
· Adams’ eight-game hitting streak is six shy of matching his career-long of 14 games set between May 10, 2009-Feb. 20, 2010.
· Bryson Smith matched his career high of two hits for the 12th time.
· Hudson Randall worked more than seven innings for the fifth time this spring.
· The Gators left 13 runners on base, compared to five for the Rebels.