Sunday April 29, 2012No. 17 Arkansas Takes Series Over No. 2 UF Baseball, 3-1, In 10 Innings
No. 17 Arkansas (31-13/11-10 SEC) scored twice in the 10th inning to down No. 2 Florida (33-12/12-9 SEC), 3-1, and capture the teams’ weekend series on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. After the Gators took the opener, 3-2, the Razorbacks notched victories of 5-1 and 3-1 to win a series in Gainesville for the first time since 2008.
“It’s been very hard for us to score runs,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Teams go through this and we’re not immune to it. It’s a difficult time right now, but we will get through it and we’ll hopefully be better because of it. I think DJ Baxendale threw the ball really well. Arkansas is leading the league in pitching for a reason and [D.J.] Baxendale is a Team USA pitcher. He didn’t walk anybody and we were late on the fastball and early on the curveball all day long. We tried to do some things: we tried a hit-and-run a couple of times, we tried to steal and we tried to push the offense a little bit and do things a little differently. We just haven’t been able to put it together. We need to do a better job getting lead-off men on base, so we can get some offense and some momentum going. I know we’ll get out of this thing and we’ll be a much better team because of it.”
With the score knotted at 1-1 entering the 10th, Florida junior Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) went to a 3-0 count on sophomore Jake Wise and freshman Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) (4-2) came in from the bullpen and hit the batter on a 3-2 pitch. Redshirt sophomore Jacob Morris laid down a sacrifice to put Wise in scoring position and redshirt senior Tim Carver (2-for-4) singled into left field for runners on the corners with one down. Sophomore Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) then replaced Magliozzi (0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R). Freshman pinch hitter Michael Gunn delivered an RBI single into right field to bring across Wise with the go-ahead run and leave UA with runners on the corners. A fielder’s choice by sophomore Dominic Ficociello scored Carver for a 3-1 lead for the visitors and Gibson struck out junior Matt Reynolds to end the frame.
Sophomore Barrett Astin pitched a perfect bottom of the stanza to collect his seventh save in relief of sophomore Colby Suggs (4-0), who threw 1.2 scoreless innings.
Arkansas broke the ice in the first inning on a two-out RBI single by senior Bo Bigham. Sophomore Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) retired the first two batters of the game before Ficociello sliced a double down the left-field line. After Reynolds was hit by a pitch, Bigham ripped the next offering into right center to drive Ficociello. With runners on the corners, Crawford struck out junior Derrick Bleeker to end the frame.
After Crawford struck out the side in the second inning, senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) led off with a base-hit into left field off junior DJ Baxendale. A grounder by freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) moved Pigott into scoring position and Baxendale responded with back-to-back strikeouts of Maddox and freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.).
Carver began the third with a single into left center but was thrown out attempting to steal by junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.). Crawford fanned junior Jacob Mahan and had Ficociello fly out to straightaway center field.
Zunino (2-for-4) opened the Gator fourth with his second single of the afternoon on a close play at first base, which was followed by the ejection of Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn for arguing. Baxendale struck out Johnson, had Pigott pop up to first base and Turgeon line out to shortstop.
Pigott made a fully-extended sliding catch to rob freshman Brian Anderson of a leadoff double in the fifth and junior shortstop Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) prevented a hit from Wise for the second out. Morris drew a two-out walk and Carver reached on a throwing error by freshman third baseman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) to extend the inning. Junior Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) replaced Crawford (4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 6 K) and had redshirt sophomore pinch hitter Jimmy Bosco ground out.
Ficociello earned a free pass to begin the sixth and Rodriguez had Reynolds fly out to left field before Bigham hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
In the seventh, Anderson laced a one-out double into the gap in right center that barely eluded Pigott’s grasp and Rodriguez countered with a strikeout of Wise. A wild pitch moved Anderson to third base with two down and Rodriguez whiffed Morris to keep the Gators down by a run.
Pigott reached on a one-out fielding error by Bigham in the bottom of the frame, ending a stretch of 10-straight Gators set down by Baxendale. The righty had Turgeon hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Carver started the eighth with a walk and Maddox was summoned from the bullpen for Rodriguez (2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K). Freshman pinch hitter Joe Serrano sacrificed Carver to second with a bunt and Ficociello was walked intentionally for two Razorbacks aboard with one out. Zunino erased Ficociello trying to steal second, with Carver taking third on the relay throw, and Maddox caught Reynolds looking on strikes to close the inning.
The Gators tied the game in the bottom of the inning on an RBI grounder by senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.). Shafer stroked a one-out single into left center field and Tobias had a bloop single into right field that was misplayed by Anderson, enabling Shafer to reach third base. Redshirt junior Trent Daniel replaced Baxendale, who permitted five hits and recorded six strikeouts over 7.1 innings. Fontana was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one down and Suggs took over on the hill for Daniel. A grounder by Tucker to second base brought home Shafer with the tying run and left the Gators with runners on second and third. Suggs had Zunino ground out to keep the contest tied at a run apiece.
Maddox struck out Bigham looking, and then had Bleeker and Anderson go down swinging in the top of the ninth. Suggs had Johnson and Pigott ground out before issuing a walk to Turgeon, who was caught stealing to send the game into extra innings.
The Gators return to action on Thursday night at SEC tri-leader No. 3 Kentucky (36-9/14-7 SEC). The game will be carried on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m.
· Florida played its sixth-consecutive decisive third game of an SEC series this year and fell to 3-3 in those situations.
· Today marked the first time all season that the Gators have lost two-straight outings at McKethan Stadium.
· Senior Preston Tucker’s 10-game hitting streak ended with a 0-for-4 performance.
· UF is now 1-1 in extra-inning games this year, Arkansas improved to 3-2.
· Junior Austin Maddox totaled four strikeouts over two scoreless and hitless innings.
· Sophomore Jonathon Crawford matched his career high of six K in an SEC game (vs. Vanderbilt on March 18).