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Wednesday April 25, 2012Balanced Attack Lifts No. 2 Baseball Over Bethune-Cookman, 10-1

Gainesville, Fla.

Freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was 3-for-4 with three stolen bases and No. 2 Florida (32-10) scored in seven-consecutive innings to defeat Bethune-Cookman (24-18), 10-1, on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium.


Sophomore Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) (3-0) fired four scoreless innings in a pre-determined start, senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) was 2-for-4 and freshman Brandon Sedell (Davie, Fla.) belted his first career homer as the Gators improved to 27-0 all-time against the Wildcats.


“I was really pleased with our offense tonight,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We scored in every inning but one and we had a lot of different guys contribute. I thought Jeff Moyer had a really good night and made a great play to start the ballgame. Pitching-wise, it was great to get Karsten Whitson out there. I thought he looked really, really sharp. We extended him a little bit and kept his pitch count down. We used five different pitchers, averaged less than 15 pitches per inning and we didn’t walk anybody. Brandon Sedell hit his first home run, a lot of guys contributed and I thought it was a great effort both offensively and pitching-wise.”


In the first inning, junior Brandon Turner (3-for-4) had a one-out single into left field after a nine-pitch at bat against Whitson and then moved to second with his team-leading 12th stolen base. A grounder by senior Jairo Acevedo moved Turner to third and Whitson had junior David Lee ground out to end the frame.


Junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk from sophomore Montana Durapau (2-5) and stole second base with one down, his ninth theft in nine attempts this season. A wild pitch moved Fontana to third but Durapau had Johnson fly out to straightaway center field.


Senior Brashad Johnson (2-for-4) opened the second with a base-hit up the middle for the Wildcats and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by senior Nick Johnson. Whitson struck out freshman Jordan Taylor and had freshman Juan Pizarro ground out to complete the inning.


The Gators grabbed a 2-0 lead in the home part of the inning on an RBI single by junior Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) and a throwing error. Senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) started things off with a double into the left-field corner and Turgeon singled for two runners aboard. Maddox opened the scoring with a base-knock into right center that scored Pigott. Durapau had freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) line into a double play at first base and then walked senior Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.) with two down. A failed pickoff attempt by Durapau enabled Moyer to reach second and Turgeon to come across with the second run.


Freshman Jake Welch (2-for-3) began the third with a single and junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) gunned down the base-runner attempting to steal second base. Moyer made a strong defensive play at third base to retire sophomore Josh Johnson and Turner collected his second hit of the contest with a two-out single into left field. Whitson had Acevedo ground out to end the inning.


Turgeon came through with a two-out single in the bottom of the stanza to give the Gators a 3-0 advantage. Tucker opened the inning with a bloop single into right field and Johnson rifled a one-out single before Pigott advanced both of his teammates into scoring position with a grounder. Turgeon put the hosts up by three runs with an infield single and stole second base before Durapau stranded the runners with an inning-ending strikeout of Maddox.


After Shafer singled to open UF’s fourth and stole second base, Moyer moved him to third with a grounder. Fontana lofted his first sacrifice fly of the year to bring home Shafer for a 4-0 margin.


Working on a pitch count, Whitson yielded four singles over four scoreless innings before sophomore Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) pitched a scoreless fifth.


Florida tacked on another run in the fifth to build a 5-0 lead. Johnson collected his second single to start the frame and was sacrificed to second by Pigott. Turgeon’s third hit of the night gave the Gators runners on the corners and a wild pitch by Durapau allowed Johnson to score and Turgeon to take second. Although Turgeon swiped third and Maddox drew a walk, Durapau worked out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts.


A two-out RBI single by Brashad Johnson in the sixth put the Wildcats on the board. A leadoff single by Turner prompted a pitching change, as senior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) came in for Gibson (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R). Junior Carlos Delgado laid down a sacrifice bunt to push Turner over and a grounder by Lee advanced his teammate to third. Brashad Johnson had a base-hit up the middle to drive in Turner and then swiped second base before Nick Johnson singled for runners on the corners. Larson had Taylor fly out to deep center, where Pigott made a nice catch to end the inning.    


Sophomore Bryan Rivera relieved Durapau (5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 K, 4 BB) and issued a walk to Fontana to open the Gator sixth. Tucker followed with his 11th homer of the year, a laser over the right-field wall that was his third career blast against the Wildcats, for a 7-1 margin.


“All-in-all, I think we played great game today,” Tucker said. “Hopefully, that will carry on through this weekend against Arkansas. Karsten Whitson was outstanding. It’s always great to see him pitch the way we know he can. His fast balls were there and some off-speed stuff. On the homer, I was just trying to cover my basics with two strikes. I tried to hit the breaking ball the other way, put the barrel on it, and kept it fair.”


UF added two more runs in the seventh on an RBI single by Moyer and another sacrifice fly by Fontana. Turgeon reached on an error to begin the inning, stole second for his third theft of the night and Maddox drew a walk before freshman pinch hitter Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) went down swinging on strikes. However, a wild pitch on the play by Rivera enabled both Gators to move into scoring position. Moyer scored Turgeon with a single through the right side for his first hit and first RBI of the year and went to second on the relay throw to the plate. Fontana followed with his second sacrifice fly of the contest into right field to balloon the lead to 9-1.


Sedell clubbed his first career homer into the left-field bleachers as a pinch hitter to lead off Florida’s eighth for a 10-1 advantage. It was his second hit of the year after having a triple against Florida A&M on March 7.


Freshman Corey Stump (Lakeland, Fla.) tossed a perfect eighth and freshman Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) kept the Wildcats scoreless in the ninth to end the contest. Florida had a 12-9 advantage in hits and did not commit any errors.


The Gators return to SEC play on Friday with the opener of a pivotal three-game series against No. 17 Arkansas (29-12/9-9 SEC). Start times for the series will be at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday and then at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday (ESPN).  


Game Notes

·         The Gators have not lost two home games in a row this season.

·         Florida remains undefeated versus Bethune-Cookman, posting a 27-0 record.

·         Four different players with the last name Johnson started in tonight's game.

·         Today marked Kevin O'Sullivan's 300th game as Florida's head coach.

·         The Gators are 14-2 versus in-state opponents this season, including 2-0 against the Wildcats.

·         The Gators hold a 15-2 home record against non-conference opponents, with their final game in this category on May 8 versus North Florida.

·         Junior Nolan Fontana remains a perfect 9-for-9 on stolen bases.

·         The Gators' first hit in the past two games has been a double by senior Daniel Pigott. He has hit three doubles in the last two games.

·         Tucker has 309 career hits, and needs 11 more to surpass Mark Ellis' school record of 319.

·         Fontana hit his first sac fly of the season in the fourth inning, and his second in the seventh..

·         Freshman Casey Turgeon matched a career high of three hits for the fourth time this season, and has set a new individual season high of three stolen bases in a game.

·         The Gators have hit two home runs in each of the last four games.

·         Senior Jeff Moyer earned his first hit and RBI of the season with one out in the seventh.

·         The Gators scored in every inning but the first.

·         UF has played error-free in 18 of 42 games.

·         Senior Greg Larson made his 108th career appearance.

·         Both of freshman Brandon Sedell’s hits this year have gone for extra bases.

·         Sedell’s pinch-hit homer was the first by a Gator since Jerico Weitzel against Ole Miss on March 28, 2010.

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