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Tuesday April 24, 2012USF Holds Off No. 2 UF Baseball, 5-3

Gainesville, Fla.

Senior Andrew Longley belted a pair of solo homers and drove in three runs and junior Jimmy Falla broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single to lead USF (28-14) over No. 2 Florida (31-10), 5-3, on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. It was the Bulls’ first victory over the Gators since May 11, 2005, ending a 12-game losing streak in the series. Juniors Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) and Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) had each homered for UF during a three-run sixth to erase a 3-0 deficit.


With the Gators down to their final three outs, freshman Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) had a leadoff single up the middle and Fontana delivered a one-out single into right center off USF sophomore Nick Gonzalez. The Bulls summoned junior closer Steven Leasure from the bullpen and he had freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) foul out to right field before walking senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) to load the bases. The righty had Zunino (2-for-5) ground out to nail down the win for senior Andrew Barbosa (5-3) and collect his sixth save.  


“It was just one of those nights,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We just couldn’t get things going offensively. Matt Reed, their starter, did a nice job. I think we had 13 fly ball outs, and we struck out four times. So, 17 of the 27 outs were either fly balls or strikeouts. When you only really work with 10 quality outs, it’s hard to score runs. We fell behind 3-0, but I was really pleased about our scoring three there in the sixth. I think the turning point of the game, though, would be after we scored the three in the sixth, we went out and walked the leadoff guy in the seventh and I think that changed the momentum of the game. We battled, we put ourselves in position-- the whole goal of the night was to see if we could get [Preston] Tucker and [Mike] Zunino up in the ninth and we did. We just weren’t able to do enough, but credit to South Florida, they played really well tonight.”


The Bulls jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a pair of unearned runs. Freshman Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) retired the first four Bulls of the game before Falla (2-for-5) roped a one-out double to left field. A fielding error by junior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) enabled freshman Zac Gilcrease to reach and Falla to move over to third base. Longley (2-for-4) brought home Falla with a grounder to third base and freshman Kyle Teaf legged out an infield single, with Gilcrease running on contact and able to score.


USF put a couple of runners aboard in the third, as redshirt senior Luis Llerena was hit by a pitch and senior Todd Brazeal singled through the left side of the infield. However, Magliozzi made Falla his fourth strikeout victim to complete the frame.


Junior Chad Taylor opened the fifth with a base-hit to left field before junior Alex Mendez flew out to left field. Llerena advanced his teammate with a grounder, ending the night for Magliozzi (4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 K). Sophomore James Ramsay greeted sophomore reliever Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) (1-1) with an infield single to give the Bulls runners on the corners with two down and then stole second base for two men in scoring position. Brazeal drew a walk to load the bases and Gibson induced a grounder by Falla that kept the score at 2-0.


Senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) (3-for-4) collected his second hit of the contest with a one-out single in the home part of the inning and freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) followed with a single into center field off Reed. The southpaw had Gushue pop out in foul territory and the Gators executed a double steal, with Pigott swiping third and Turgeon taking second. Reed responded by having Dent ground out to preserve the two-run margin for the visitors.


Longley increased USF’s lead to 3-0 with a one-out solo shot to left center field off Gibson in the sixth. It was the first homer surrendered by the Gator pitching staff since April 10 at Florida State.


The Gators used homers by Fontana (2-for-5) and Zunino in the bottom of the frame to knot the contest at 3-3. Fontana led off with his eighth round-tripper of the season to right field. Tucker reached on a misplayed fly ball by Mendez with one down and Zunino deposited a 1-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers for his team-leading 12th homer. Pigott cranked a two-out double off the left-field wall, prompting a pitching change. Barbosa replaced Reed (5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER) and had Turgeon ground out.


Falla delivered a two-out RBI single in the seventh that gave USF a 4-3 advantage. Mendez earned a free pass on a full count to begin the frame, bringing freshman Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) in for Gibson (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB). Llerena pushed Mendez over with a sacrifice bunt and Ramsay moved Mendez to third with a grounder. Brazeal was plunked for runners on the corners and two down and Falla sliced a go-ahead single into left field that scored Mendez. Freshman Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) took over on the mound and had Gilcrease fly out to center field.


Junior Austin Adams relieved Barbosa (0.1 IP) prior to UF’s seventh turn at the plate and issued a leadoff walk to Gushue. Dent collected his team-leading ninth sacrifice bunt to advance Gushue into scoring position and Adams responded with back-to-back strikeouts of Fontana and Shafer.


Longley connected on his second blast of the game to open the eighth to give USF a 5-3 lead and Teaf walked to cause a pitching change. Sophomore Keenan Kish (Worcester, Pa.) took over for Poyner (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R) and Teaf swiped second base. Kish struck out Taylor and Turgeon made a nice defensive play to rob Mendez off a single, advancing Teaf to third. Kish then fanned Llerena to strand the runner.


In the bottom of the inning, Tucker started things off with his 11th double of the season into left field and Adams (1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 K) struck out Zunino before Gonzalez entered the contest and walked junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.). A fielder’s choice by Pigott erased Tucker at third base for the second out and Gonzalez had Turgeon ground out to escape the jam.


The Gators will host Bethune-Cookman (24-17) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Florida notched an 8-6 win in the teams’ first meeting on Feb. 21.   


Game Notes

·         USF’s last win over Florida before tonight came in Tampa on May 11, 2005, by an 11-5 count.

·         Senior Daniel Pigott had his ninth double of the year into left field for UF’s first hit and added his 10th double in the sixth inning for his fifth career multiple-double contest.

·         Pigott singled in the fifth for his 15th multiple-hit outing of the season, second behind senior Preston Tucker (16).

·         Freshman Johnny Magliozzi’s 4.2-inning start was the longest of his career, with his previous best being 4.0 innings versus Samford on March 20.

·         The Gators are now 13-2 against Sunshine State opponents this year.

·         Junior Brian Johnson’s hitting streak ended at nine games with a 0-for-3 performance.

·         Florida fell to 21-5 at McKethan Stadium in 2012.

·         Thirty-three of UF’s 54 homers this season have come with no one on base.

·         Junior Mike Zunino has homered in consecutive games.

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