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Friday May 25, 2012Vanderbilt Downs No. 2 UF Baseball, 2-1, To Reach SEC Tourney Semifinals

Hoover, Ala.

Junior left-hander Sam Selman tossed six shutout frames and senior Riley Reynolds delivered a two-out triple in the fourth inning as Vanderbilt (32-25) extended its winning streak to eight games with a 2-1 victory over No. 2 Florida (41-17) on Thursday night at the 2012 SEC Tournament to advance to Saturday’s semifinal round. The triumph ended a seven-game slide in the series by the Commodores.

 

The Gators will next face No. 4 South Carolina (40-16) in an elimination game on Friday night, 30 minutes following the completion of the win-or-go-home contest between No. 5t LSU (43-15) and No. 25 Mississippi State (36-22) that starts at 4 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on CSS, Cox Communications Channel 259 in the Gainesville/Ocala area and can be heard on Country 103.7 The Gator with Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert.

 

Selman (9-3) held UF to two hits over six innings and registered seven strikeouts before being relieved by freshman Tyler Beede (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R), who surrendered a sacrifice fly to senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) that brought Florida within 2-1 in the seventh inning. Freshman Jared Miller pitched the final 2.1 innings, permitting just a two-out single into right center field by senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) in the ninth to collect his first career save and nail down the win. Junior Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (7-2) saw his four-game winning streak snapped with the setback. The teams combined for nine hits (5-4 VU) and stranded a total of 18 runners on base (11-7 UF).

 

The Gators put a pair of runners aboard in the top of the first inning against Selman courtesy of a leadoff walk to junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) and a free pass with two down to junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.). However, the left-hander had junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) ground out to end the frame.

 

Fontana was hit by a pitch for third time this season with one down in the third and moved to second on a grounder by Pigott. Tucker drew a walk for two Gators on base and Selman had a fielder’s choice by Zunino force Tucker at second base to complete the stanza.

 

Randall retired the first seven Vanderbilt hitters before yielding a one-out double to left field by junior Jack Lupo in the home part of the third. A grounder by freshman Vince Conde pushed Lupo to third and Randall stranded the runner by having sophomore Tony Kemp ground out to junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) at first base.

 

Freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) collected UF’s first hit of the contest with a two-out double in the fourth that ricocheted off third baseman Conde and went down the left-field line. Ramjit was plunked for two men on base and Selman struck out freshman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) to keep the game scoreless.

 

The Commodores mounted a two-out rally to seize a 2-0 lead on a triple by Reynolds in the bottom of the fourth. Randall recorded the first two outs before walking sophomore Conrad Gregor (2-for-3), who moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Sophomore Spencer Navin then walked on four pitches, marking the first time all season that Randall had permitted multiple walks in an outing. Reynolds ripped a ball to the gap in right center that plated both of his teammates for his second three-bagger of the campaign.

 

Pigott reached on a one-out throwing error by junior shortstop Anthony Gomez in the fifth and Selman had Tucker fly out to left field. Florida had two runners aboard with two down following Zunino’s second walk of the night and Selman countered with an inning-ending strikeout of Johnson for his sixth K.

 

Freshman Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) led off the sixth with a base-hit into left field and moved over on a grounder by Turgeon. A foul pop-up that was snagged by first baseman Gregor enabled Shafer to reach third with two down but Selman kept the Gators scoreless by striking out Tobias.

 

Gregor connected on a one-out double in the sixth and Navin moved his teammate to third with a check-swing grounder. Freshman Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) was called upon to replace Randall (5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K) and had Reynolds ground out to hold the deficit at two runs.

 

Beede took over for Selman (6.0 IP, 2 H, 7 K, 4 BB) prior to the seventh and was greeted by a single into center field by Fontana. A failed pickoff attempt by Beede allowed Fontana to reach third base on the play and the right-hander responded with a strikeout of Pigott. Tucker narrowed the gap to 2-1 with his third sacrifice fly of the campaign, a fly ball to the warning track in right field. After Zunino drew his season-high third walk, Beede was replaced by Miller, who caught Johnson looking on strikes to close the inning.

 

Junior Connor Harrell opened the bottom of the stanza with a single off sophomore Keenan Kish (Worcester, Pa.) and was sacrificed to second base on a bunt by Lupo. A fielding error by Fontana allowed Conde to reach with one down and prompted a pitching change. Senior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) came in for Kish (0.1 IP, 1 H) and a grounder by Kemp advanced both Harrell and Conde into scoring position. The Gator reliever pitched out of trouble by having junior Mike Yastrzemski line out to freshman first baseman Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) to preserve the 2-1 margin.

 

After the Gators went down in order in the eighth, Gregor stroked a one-out single off Gibson and freshman Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen. Harris had Navin line out to center field and freshman Corey Stump (Lakeland, Fla.) took the mound. Although Gregor stole second base, Stump retired Reynolds on a grounder to conclude the inning.

 

Game Notes

·         Vanderbilt improved to 7-2 all-time against Florida in the SEC Tournament.

·         Before tonight, the Commodores’ last defeated the Gators on May 14, 2011, in Nashville.

·         Junior Mike Zunino’s six-game hitting streak ended with a 0-for-1 performance in which he drew three walks.

·         Florida has taken three of the four meetings with Vanderbilt this year.

·         Freshman Casey Turgeon had his ninth double of the campaign.

 

 

 

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