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Sunday March 4, 2012No. 1 Florida Rallies For Five Runs In Ninth To Sweep No. 8 Miami, 8-5

Coral Gables, Fla.

Trailing 5-3 in the ninth inning and down to its final two outs, No. 1 Florida (10-1) erupted for five runs to hand No. 8 Miami (8-3) an 8-5 setback on Sunday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. The Gators completed a sweep of the weekend series and increased their winning streak over the Hurricanes to 11 games dating back to March 6, 2010. In collecting its eighth-straight victory, UF has now taken 14 of the last 15 encounters between the Sunshine State rivals and improved to 6-1 this year against ranked opponents.

 

In a wild ninth inning that saw the Gators send 10 batters to the plate, junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Springs, Fla.) (2-for-5, two runs) drew a leadoff walk from Miami junior reliever E.J. Encinosa (0-1) and senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was hit by a pitch. Senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-5) moved his teammates into scoring position with a grounder to second base. Junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) (1-for-4) picked an opportune time to extend his hitting streak to 14 games with a double into right center that brought home Fontana and Pigott to even the contest at 5-5.

 

Zunino went to third on a wild pitch and freshman Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (1-for-3) was plunked, putting runners on the corners with just one down. Encinosa uncorked another wild pitch that scored Zunino for a 6-5 Florida lead and advanced Gushue to second base. Junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) pinch ran for Gushue and junior Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) earned a free pass to prompt a pitching move. Freshman Christian Diaz replaced Encinosa (1.0 IP, 1 H, 5 R) and issued a walk to freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) that loaded the bases. Junior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) then walked on four pitches to bring home Ramjit for a 7-5 count. Facing sophomore reliever Adam Sargent, senior Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) ricocheted a single off the second-base bag into right field to score redshirt freshman pinch runner Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.) for an 8-5 Gator lead. However, Turgeon slipped and fell rounding third base and was tagged out by senior catcher Peter O’Brien for the second out and Fontana struck out as the 10th batter of the inning.

 

For the Hurricanes in the ninth, O’Brien drew a one-out walk from freshman Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) (1-0) and sophomore Brad Fieger (3-for-5) punched a single into left field to bring the tying run to the plate. Magliozzi and freshman Esteban Tresgallo (2-for-5) waged an intense 10-pitch battle before the righty had the hitter fly out to left field for the second out. Sophomore Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) replaced Magliozzi and struck out junior Chantz Mack to pick up his first career save in Magliozzi’s first career win.

 

Fontana had opened the game with a single into left center field off sophomore Bryan Radziewski and moved to second base on a one-out balk. Tucker ended a 0-for-10 drought with a one-out infield single that advanced Fontana to third but Radziewski had Zunino ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

 

Making his second career start, sophomore Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) struck out the side on 13 pitches in the first inning, taking down sophomores Tyler Palmer and Dale Carey swinging before O’Brien was caught looking.

 

The Gators broke the ice in the second on a wind-aided RBI double by Turgeon that scored Gushue. Gushue had started the frame with a walk on four pitches, went to second on a wild pitch and took third on a fly-out to center field by Maddox. Turgeon lofted a fly ball into left field that was caught in the swirling wind and landed just inside of the foul line for his third two-bagger of the campaign.

 

Miami answered in the home part of the inning with three runs on four hits to take a 3-1 lead. Fieger started things off with an infield single and Tresgallo extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double to center field. Mack tied the game with an RBI grounder to first base and junior Stephen Perez dragged a sacrifice bunt up the first-base line that brought in Tresgallo. With two down, sophomore Julian Santos ripped a triple that carried to deep right field and freshman Jarred Mederos (3-for-4) singled up the middle to give the Hurricanes a two-run lead. Crawford fanned Palmer for the second time to end the stanza.

 

In the third, Pigott had a one-out double and Tucker followed with his second base-hit of the game to give the Gators runners on the corners with one down, Radziewski caught Zunino looking on strikes and had a fielder’s choice by Gushue force Tucker at second base to preserve the 3-1 margin.

 

The Hurricanes had a runner on third with one down in the third and Crawford came through with consecutive strikeouts. Carey was hit by pitch and went to third base on a groundout by O’Brien to put UM in business. Crawford struck out Fieger and Tresgallo, giving him a career-high six K through the first three innings.

 

Fontana led off the fifth with his second homer of the season to right field to bring the Gators within 3-2. It came on a 3-2 pitch after Radziewski had battled back from a 3-0 count.

 

Mederos began UM’s fifth with a single into left field and Palmer legged out a bunt single before Carey pushed his teammates into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. The Gators elected to walk O’Brien intentionally to load the bases and Fieger smashed an infield single to score Mederos for a 4-2 lead. Crawford responded with a strikeout of Tresgallo and junior Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen. Over 4.2 innings, Crawford registered eight K, gave up seven hits and allowed four runs. Rodriguez caught Mack looking on strikes to strand the trio of the runners and hold UF’s deficit at 4-2.

 

Freshman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) opened the seventh with his first career double off the right-field fence and went to third on a grounder by Fontana. A fielder’s choice by Pigott brought in Tobias, who eluded a tag from O’Brien at the plate when the ball rolled away to bring the Gators within 4-3. Tobias was originally called out but the decision was reversed after a conference by the umpires. A grounder by Tucker forced Pigott at second base and ended the afternoon for Radziewski, who scattered eight hits, permitted three runs and totaled three strikeouts in an 117-pitch outing. Junior Eric Nedeljkovic induced an inning-ending pop fly by Zunino.

 

Helped by a costly Gator throwing error, the Hurricanes added another run in the home part of the inning on a sacrifice fly by O’Brien to take a 5-3 advantage. Carey drew a one-out walk and went to third on an errant pickoff throw by Rodriguez. O’Brien plated his teammate with a fly ball into left field. Fieger reached on a fielding error by Tobias at third base, prompting a pitching change. Maddox took over for Rodriguez (2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 4 K) and Tresgallo singled off the third-base bag for a pair of Hurricanes aboard. Maddox struck out Mack to complete the inning.

 

In the eighth, Gushue greeted sophomore reliever AJ Salcines with a base-hit into left field before Maddox flew out to right field. Gushue advanced to second on a wild pitch and Turegon walked to cause another change on the mound. Junior pinch hitter Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) had a grounder to Encinosa that moved both of his teammates into scoring position and the righty struck out senior pinch hitter Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.) to keep Miami on top.

 

Freshman Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) took over on the hill for Florida in the eighth and recorded the first two outs before yielding a single into left field to Mederos. Magliozzi had Palmer fly out to center field to set the stage for the ninth-inning heroics.

 

The Gators begin a stretch of 10-straight games at McKethan Stadium on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Florida Atlantic (8-4). In the teams’ last meeting, UF collected a 13-2 victory over the Owls in Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 22, 2011.   

 

Game Notes

·         Florida has now claimed 14 of the last 15 meetings against Miami.

·         The Gators swept the Hurricanes in a three-game series in Coral Gables for the first time since 2006 and second time in school history.

·         UF notched a weekend sweep of a top-10 opponent for the first time since claiming all three meetings at No. 5 LSU from March 18-20, 2011.

·         Sophomore Jonathon Crawford made his second career start, first on a weekend.

·         Crawford set a career high with eight strikeouts, eclipsing his total of four against UCF on Feb. 22, 2012. It was the most K by a Gator pitcher this season, passing Austin Maddox’s total of seven from Friday night.

·         Florida has at least one homer in 10 of 11 games this year.

·         Junior Nolan Fontana had previously hit a round-tripper against William & Mary last Sunday afternoon.

·         The Gators hit .365 (42-for-115) over the three games, with eight doubles and five homers, and out-scored the Hurricanes by a 28-15 margin.

·         Senior Daniel Pigott was 6-for-12 (.500) with three runs and three RBI and junior Brian Johnson was 5-for-7 (.714).

·         Florida’s bullpen was 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA during the series, with 18 strikeouts, seven hits, three walks, two runs (one earned) in 13.2 innings.

 

 

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