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Sunday February 17, 2013Zack Powers' Career Day Lifts No. 13 Florida To Series Victory Over Duke, 16-5

Gainesville, Fla.

Fueled by a pair of grand slams and nine RBI by redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.), No. 13 Florida (2-1) erupted for 14 runs over its final three at bats to register a 16-5 series-clinching victory over Duke (1-2) on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Powers (2-for-3) joined Preston Tucker as the lone Gators to belt two grand slams in the same outing, as Tucker had accomplished the feat on April 8, 2009, against UCF.


Florida scored four runs on five hits in the sixth inning to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 advantage, including a game-tying sacrifice fly by Powers and a go-ahead two-run single by sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.). Powers delivered grand slams in both the seventh and eighth innings and the Gator offense totaled a season-high 13 hits to capture the rubber game of the series with the Blue Devils. Sophomore right-hander Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (1-0) tossed 2.2 scoreless innings to earn the win, while freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) went 2-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases and senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) was 2-for-3 with an RBI single. In addition, the series attendance of 13,242 for the three games this weekend was the third-highest on an opening weekend in school history.


“It was really great to see our bats come alive there in the sixth inning,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We had some really, really good at-bats there. Some guys got some good swings on some pitches there, but personally, as a team, we probably needed that sixth inning as much as anybody. The bottom line is, if you put it in play, you’ve got a chance. We hit some balls hard this weekend and obviously Zack [Powers] had a great day.”


“It’s great to have a good game like this but it’s greater to be back playing,” Powers said of missing the 2012 season. “To have a game like this is really special.” 


A two-out, two-run double by redshirt sophomore Chris Marconcini off sophomore right-hander Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) in the first inning drew first blood for Duke. Sophomore Andrew Istler opened the game with a single into left field and junior Mike Rosenfeld drew a one-out walk for two runners aboard. Shafer had junior Jordan Betts fly out to left field but was then charged with a balk to advance the runners. Marconcini plated his teammates with a two-bagger into left field.


The Gators answered in the home part of the frame on a game-tying, two-run double by sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.). Martin worked a one-out walk from freshman right-hander James Marvel, went to second on a balk and stole third for his first career theft with two down. Shafer earned a free pass for runners on the corners and Gushue doubled off the wall in right field to clear the bases for his first two RBI of the campaign.


Although Duke mounted a two-out rally in the third, as Rosenfeld doubled to the gap in left center and Betts walked, it could not break the stalemate. Junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) replaced Shafer (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB) and had Marconcini ground out.


Sophomore Andy Perez led off the fourth with a base-hit into right field and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by junior Matt Berezo (2-for-3). Perez stole third and scored on the play because of a throwing error by Gushue. After junior Anthony D’Alessandro singled into right field, Gibson induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double to hold the count at 3-2.


Gushue started the bottom of the inning with a walk and Marvel had senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) hit into a 4-6-3 double play. After Powers drew the Gators’ fourth walk of the afternoon, Marvel jammed Tobias on an infield fly.


A one-out walk to Blue Devil senior Jeff Kremer prompted a pitching change, with Harris taking over for Gibson (1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R). The righty forced Kremer at second base on a fielder’s choice by Rosenfeld and had Betts fly out to right field.


After Marvel threw four innings in his collegiate debut, giving up two hits and two runs, freshman Michael Mattuella (0-1) threw a perfect fifth for Duke.


The Gators erupted for four runs on five hits in the sixth to seize a 6-3 advantage, highlighted by a two-run, two-out single by Tobias that snapped a 3-3 tie. Sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (1-for-3, 3 runs) and Shafer (1-for-2, 2 runs) began UF’s at bat with back-to-back singles and sophomore Remy Janco was summoned to replace Matuella (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R). The left-hander struck out Gushue and Ramjit greeted junior reliever Robert Huber with an infield single to load the bases with one down. Powers collected his first RBI by lofting a sacrifice fly to straightaway center field and Tobias picked an opportune time for his first hit of the campaign with a single into left center that brought across Shafer and Ramjit. After Tobias stole second, Dent put the Orange and Blue up by three runs with a run-scoring single through the right side of the infield. Freshman Nick Hendrix came in for Huber (0.1, 3 H, 2 R) and had freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) fly out to left field to complete the frame.


Junior Angelo La Bruna started the seventh with a walk but Harris had Istler ground into a 6-4-3 double play and Kremer line out to Ramjit in right field.


Powers expanded the Gators’ lead to 10-3 with a grand slam over the right-field wall with two down in the bottom of the stanza. It was the first grand slam by Florida since Brian Johnson connected against Mississippi State in the opening round of the SEC Tournament on May 25, 2011. Martin began the inning with a base-hit into right field but was picked off by freshman Kenny Koplove. Turgeon followed with a walk and freshman pinch hitter Kevin Stypulkowski (Lake Worth, Fla.) was hit by a pitch before a fly-out to right field by Gushue moved Turgeon to third and gave Florida runners on the corners with two down. Ramjit was hit by a pitch to load the bases and senior Ryan Munger took over for Koplove (0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 HBP) and surrendered a grand slam to Powers.


Brezo narrowed Duke’s deficit to 10-5 in the eighth with a two-out, two-run double off freshman Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.). Betts had doubled down the right-field line off freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.) with one down and Vinson had Marconcini fly out to right field. However, the ball was misplayed for an error that enabled the Blue Devils to have runners on second and third. Brezo cleared the bases with a two-bagger into left field.  


Florida countered with six more runs on an RBI single by Stypulkowski, a pinch-hit sacrifice fly by freshman Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) and another grand slam by Powers to finalize the scoring at 16-5. Dent drew a leadoff walk and a one-out single by Martin left the Gators with runners on the corners. After Martin stole second for his second theft of the afternoon, Turgeon walked to fill the bags. Stypulkowski’s first collegiate hit came on a 0-2 count into left field to score Dent and Dicks lofted a sac fly to left field to bring in Martin. Redshirt freshman Cory Reid (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) came through with his second pinch-hit single in as many days to re-fill the sacks and Powers emptied them again with a homer to right field. Powers drove in nine runs this afternoon after totaling seven RBI during his true freshman season of 2011.


UF enjoyed a 13-8 advantage in hits, drew seven walks and stole three bases today in capturing its season-opening series for the sixth year in a row. The Gators return to action at UCF (2-1) on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. from Jay Bergman Field. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell. Florida’s next home game will be on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Georgia Southern (2-1).


Game Notes

·         Florida and Duke drew a total of 13,242 fans over the three-game series, the third-highest total for an opening weekend at McKethan Stadium (14,389 vs. Cal State Fullerton from 2/17-2/19/12 & 14,003 vs. USF from 2/18-2/20/11).

·         Sophomore Justin Shafer made his collegiate starting debut after six relief appearances last season but was not involved in the decision.

·         Redshirt sophomore Zack Powers made his first career start at first base and went 2-for-3 with nine RBI, two grand slams and a sacrifice fly.

·         Each pitcher was charged with a balk in the first inning.

·         Senior Cody Dent had his second career double in the second inning, first since the 2011 NCAA College World Series opener against Texas and posted his first multiple-hit game of the year.

·         Junior right-hander Daniel Gibson earned his second strikeout in two appearances this season by getting Duke’s Andrew Istler out swinging.

·         Sophomore right-hander Ryan Harris made his second appearance in relief for the Gators this season and threw 2.2 scoreless innings to pick up the decision.

·         Sophomore Casey Turgeon has reached base safely in the first three contests of 2013.

·         Senior Vickash Ramjit collected his first hit of the season off the Blue Devils’ Robert Huber in the sixth inning to load the bases for Powers, who then delivered his first sacrifice fly of the season to even the score at 3-3.

·         Sophomore Josh Tobias recorded his first hit of the season with a two-run single to shallow left field, followed by his first stolen base of the year.

·         Dent’s second RBI of the year extended UF’s lead to 6-3 in the sixth, forcing a pitching change for Duke.

·         As a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning, freshman Kevin Stypulkowski was hit by a pitch and reached base for the first time in his college career. Staying in the game for the Gators at catcher, Stypulkowski earned his first collegiate hit and RBI in the bottom of the eighth.

·         A total of 13 pitchers threw in the series finale – seven for Duke and six for the Gators.

·         Freshman Christian Dicks chipped in with a sacrifice fly in his first plate appearance as a collegian.

·         Freshmen Mike Vinson and Jay Carmichael each made his collegiate debut on the mound for Florida in the eighth inning and rookie Eric Hanhold saw his first action on the mound in the ninth inning, striking out the first two batters he faced.


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