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Tuesday May 17, 2011Jacksonville Downs No. 4 Florida, 11-2

Gainesville, Fla.

Jacksonville (33-18) scored three times in the first inning and tallied eight two-out runs on its way to an 11-2 victory over No. 4 Florida (39-14) on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. Senior left-hander Matthew Tomshaw (7-3) limited the Gators to just a two-run homer by sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) over six innings and was supported by an offense that featured four players with multiple-RBI outings. Sophomore Dan Gulbransen (2-for-3, three runs, two RBI) and senior Esterlin Perozo (1-for-5) each homered for JU.             


“You come back from an exciting Sunday, basically 48 hours ago, and we needed to carry it over from the weekend into tonight which would help us coming into the Kentucky series,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “It’s just one of those things, it’s disappointing but we’re this far into the season so we have to move past it as tough as it is because we have the chance to win the SEC Championship this weekend.”


The Dolphins plated three runs with two down in the first inning off junior Alex Panteliodis (Tampa, Fla.) (4-2) courtesy of a two-run double by junior Kevin Lehane and an RBI single by junior Jimmy Howick (2-for-5). Freshman Taylor Ratliff (2-for-3, three runs) was hit by a pitch to start the game, stole second and went to third on a passed ball during ball four to Gulbransen. With runners on the corners and one down, Panteliodis had sophomore Adam Brett Walker fly out. Lehane cleared the bases with a double down the left-field line and scored on a base-hit into left field by Howick.   


In the bottom of the inning, the Gators pulled within 3-2 on a two-run homer by Zunino. Sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to seven games with a one-out infield single and Zunino launched his 13th round-tripper deep to left field on the first pitch from Tomshaw. It was his third homer in the past two games and marked his second-straight at bat with a big fly after socking a three-run homer in the 12th inning to upend Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon.


Gulbransen put Jacksonville up 4-2 in the third inning with his fifth homer, a solo shot with one down to right field. After Walker earned a free pass, Panteliodis struck out Lehane. However, a two-out single into center field by Howick resulted in runners on first and third and ended the night for Panteliodis (2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R). Junior Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) stranded the runners by catching senior Alex Swenson looking on strikes. 


JU added two more runs with two out in the fourth on a triple into left center by junior Jonathan Murphy and a single up the middle by Gulbransen to build a 6-2 lead. DeSclafani retired the first two hitters on strikeouts before yielding a single into shallow right field by Ratliff. Murphy drove in his teammate with a three-bagger to the base of the wall and Gulbransen delivered an RBI single to put the visitors ahead by four runs.


Perozo belted a three-run homer with two down in the fifth to give JU a 9-2 advantage. DeSclafani notched the first two outs before Swenson beat out an infield single. Senior Chris Connelly extended the inning by reaching on an error and Perozo capitalized with his fourth big fly that cleared the wall in left center.


Senior Matt Campbell (Tampa, Fla.) replaced DeSclafani (2.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 4 K) prior to the sixth and set down the Dolphins 1-2-3, including a pair of strikeouts. Tomshaw had retired 10-straight Gator batters before issuing a leadoff walk to Fontana in the home part of the stanza. Following another free pass to Zunino, a fly ball by junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) left runners on the corners. Tomshaw completed the inning by having sophomore Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.


Freshman Adam Maxon took over for Tomshaw (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R) at the beginning of UF’s seventh at bat and yielded three singles in a row to sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), Adams and junior Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) to load the bases. The righty had freshman Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) line out to Howick at shortstop, catching Adams off second base for a double play. Maxon kept UF off the scoreboard by having senior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) ground out.


Walker boosted JU’s lead to 11-2 in the eighth with a two-run double to straightaway center field off freshman Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.). Ratliff led off with a bunt single, Gulbransen was plunked with one down and Walker ripped his team-leading 20th two-bagger to bring home both of his teammates.


The Gators return to action on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Kentucky (24-28/7-20 SEC) to begin the final series of the regular season. At 20-7 in league play, UF is part of a three-way tie for the conference lead with No. 2 South Carolina (41-11) and No. 3 Vanderbilt (42-8). The Gamecocks finish at Alabama (31-22/13-14 SEC) and the Commodores head to Georgia (26-26/15-12 SEC).


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Game Notes

·         Florida’s eight-game home winning streak ended and the team is now 27-5 at McKethan Stadium this season.

·         The Gators fell to 7-7 in mid-week games, 4-6 on Tuesday nights.

·         Zack Powers returned to the lineup for the first time since April 15 at Georgia, while Tyler Thompson saw his first action since April 24 versus Alabama.

·         Florida has a 49-30 edge in the all-time series, including 29-12 in Gainesville.

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