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Thursday February 21, 2013Georgia Southern Slips Past No. 13 Florida, 8-7, In 12 Innings

Gainesville, Fla.

Down to its final strike, Georgia Southern (3-1) tied the game on a two-out RBI single by senior T.D. Davis (3-for-5, three runs) in the ninth inning and then used a bases-loaded walk in the 12th by freshman Cole Watson to post an 8-7 victory over No. 13 Florida (3-2) on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. Senior right-hander Kyle Rowe (1-0) hurled four shutout innings to earn the win, while sophomore lefty Corey Stump (Lakeland, Fla.) (0-2) took the defeat for the Gators.

 

With the teams knotted at seven runs apiece, Davis started the 12th with a single to left field, ending the night for Stump (career-high 2.0 IP, 2 H). Sophomore reliever Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) mishandled a bunt attempt by redshirt junior Arthur Owens, resulting in two runners on base, and sophomore Hunter Thomas (2-for-6, two RBI) had a bunt single to fill the bases with none out. The Eagles moved in front on a walk to Watson, with freshman Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) replacing Harris. The right-hander induced a 5-2-3 double play on a grounder by sophomore Tyler Avera and then had redshirt freshman Kyle Streicher ground out to hold the margin at 8-7. However, Rowe set the Gators down in order in the home part of the frame to secure the victory.

 

“When you get within one strike to finish the ballgame, you feel like you have it right there, but Mags [Johnny Magliozzi] threw the ball really well tonight,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Obviously, he’s disappointed with the outcome, but I was very pleased with the way he threw the ball – that’s the life of a closer. We obviously did not play very well, and I think that’s indicative of where we’re at as a team right now. We played so well last night; tonight we did not play well at all. We made six errors, balls were getting underneath the gloves of the infielders, we had a lead-off walk to start the fourth inning, then we gave up an 0-2 hit … so, there were a lot of things that factored into it tonight. It’s remarkable that we were able to stay in it.”

 

“I think 6-1, at that point, [Justin] Shafer’s home run was a big lift for us. We’re going to build on that. Many teams would have folded their tent, gave in, but these guys fought back and it’s unfortunate that we fell one run short, but we did battle back. We do know that we need to clean up our defense and that will get cleaned up. We’re only five games in; it’ll get better.”

 

After sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) retired the side on nine pitches to begin the game, Florida used a sacrifice fly by sophomore Casey Turgeon (2-for-5, three RBI) (Palm Harbor, Fla.) off freshman Evan Challenger to take a 1-0 lead. Freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) had drawn a leadoff walk, stole second base for his first career theft and was sacrificed to third on a bunt by freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.). Turgeon lofted a fly ball into left field for his first sac fly of the year to score Bader.

 

The Eagles answered with an RBI double by Owens in the second inning to knot the game at 1-1. Davis reached on catcher’s interference to begin the frame and scored all the way from first base on Owens’ two-bagger down the left-field line. A grounder to the mound by Thomas advanced Davis to third and Shafer notched consecutive strikeouts of Watson and junior Brent Pugh to keep the contest tied.

 

Thomas provided Georgia Southern with a 3-1 lead in the fourth with a two-run single up the middle. Sophomore Chase Griffin walked to begin the frame and Davis roped a single through the left side for a pair of Eagles aboard. Owens advanced his teammates with a sacrifice bunt and Thomas moved the visitors in front with a base-knock into center field. Thomas stole second and advanced to third on a grounder by Watson before Shafer had Pugh ground out.

 

In the home part of the inning, Turgeon extended his hitting streak to six games with a single into right field and was erased on a fielder’s choice by Shafer. Shafer moved into scoring position with his first stolen base of the season and took third on a fly ball to the warning track by sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.). Challenger kept the Eagles’ lead at two runs by having senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) fly out.

 

Shafer worked a career-high four innings in which he gave up three hits and three runs (two earned), with a personal-best four strikeouts. Georgia Southern tacked on three runs on two hits and three errors in the fifth to build a 6-1 advantage. Freshman right-hander Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) took over and yielded a leadoff single to Streicher, who swiped second base. Senior Scooter Williams was hit by a pitch for two Eagles on base and junior Ben Morgan (2-for-6, two runs) reached on a bunt to load the bases with none out. An error by sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) on Griffin’s grounder enabled Streicher and Williams to score for a 5-1 margin. Davis reached on a fielding error by Martin and a throwing error by Bader allowed Morgan to score for a five-run lead for GSU. After Owens flew out, freshman Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) replaced Hanhold (0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER) and induced an inning-ending 1-5 double play.  

 

The Gators exploded for five runs in the bottom of the inning with two down, highlighted by a two-run single by Turgeon and a three-run, game-tying homer by Shafer. Tobias was hit by a pitch with one down, ending the night for Challenger, who allowed two hits and two runs over 4.1 innings. Tobias moved to second on a passed ball and senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) walked on four pitches from senior reliever Josh Stevenson. Martin legged out an infield hit to load the bases with two down and Turgeon came through with a single into right field that brought UF within 6-3. Shafer picked an opportune time for his first career homer, launching a towering shot to deep left field that cleared the bleachers and emptied the bases. Gushue and Ramjit followed with consecutive singles, marking five-straight Gator hits, before Stevenson had a fielder’s choice by redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) end the inning.

 

Freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.) became the fourth Florida pitcher in the sixth and struck out Watson before hitting Pugh. An error by Powers on a pickoff throw to first enabled Pugh to move into scoring position. Vinson had Streicher fly out to center field, plunked Williams and then had Morgan pop out.

 

Tobias (2-for-5, two runs) opened the Gator sixth with a base-hit up the middle and Dent advanced his teammate to third with a single into right field. Although a grounder by Bader resulted in a double play, Tobias scored for a 7-6 UF lead.

 

Redshirt freshman Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) made his collegiate debut in the seventh after a scoreless frame by Vinson and put down the Eagles in order. After Rhodes recorded the first out of the eighth inning, he hit Watson and was replaced by sophomore Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.). Watson stole second base and Magliozzi responded with back-to-back strikeouts of junior pinch hitter Stryker Brown and Streicher.

 

Down to their last strike, Georgia Southern tied the game on an RBI single by Davis that brought across Morgan. Magliozzi had Williams ground out to begin the inning and Morgan followed with an infield single and then stole second base. Griffin went down swinging for the second out and Davis delivered the game-tying base-hit through the left side on a 0-2 pitch. Magliozzi fanned Owens to keep the game deadlocked at 7-7.

 

In Florida’s ninth, Bader greeted Rowe with a single into right field and stole second with two down. Georgia Southern walked Shafer intentionally and the pair of Gators advanced into scoring position on a passed ball. Freshman Kevin Stypulkowski (Lake Worth, Fla.) walked to load the bases and Rowe sent the game into extra innings by striking out Ramjit.

 

The Gators will welcome FGCU (2-1) to McKethan Stadium for a weekend series that starts on Friday at 7 p.m. Junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (0-0, 4.91) will start the opener against Eagle junior right-hander Ricky Knapp (1-0, 0.00). All three games can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be streamed live on GatorVision.

         

Game Notes

·         With the 8-7 defeat to Georgia Southern, Florida drops to 4-2 on the year.

·         Tonight’s game was the first extra-inning game of the season for the Gators and the first since Game 2 of the 2012 NCAA Super Regional against NC State.

·         Freshman Harrison Bader recorded his first career walk Wednesday night after drawing four balls in his first at-bat of the game.

·         In the same inning, Bader also tallied his first career stolen base with Richie Martin at the plate. Bader had two thefts on the night.

·         The Gators had their first sacrifice bunt of the season in the first inning after Martin dropped a bunt down, allowing Bader to advance to third base. Bader scored on sophomore Casey Turgeon’s sacrifice fly.

·         Starting pitcher Justin Shafer recorded a career-high in strikeouts against Georgia Southern, tallying four on the night, all swinging. His last career-high was three K’s against Florida A&M on March 7, 2012.

·         With his single in the bottom of the fourth inning, Turgeon extended his hitting streak to six games which dates back to last season.

·         Shafer swiped his first bag of the season after stealing second base in the bottom of the fourth inning with one out.

·         Final line for Shafer on the night was 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. The 4.0 innings pitched was also a career-long stint for the sophomore.

·         The six errors by Florida was a new season-high for the team. The Gators had three against Duke on Feb. 17.

·         Shafer slugged a two out, three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 6-6. The homer was Shafer’s first of his career and was part of a five-run inning for the Gators.

·         With Shafer’s home run, UF has hit at least one round-tripper in the last four games and six home runs as a team this year.

·         The Orange and Blue batted around the lineup in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Gators recorded five-straight hits with two outs during the half-inning.

·         The five runs scored in the bottom of the fifth were the second-most in one inning by UF this year.

·         With his single in the bottom of the sixth, senior Cody Dent extended his hitting streak to three games, matching the longest of his Gator career.

·         With its one run in the sixth, Florida has now scored at least one run in the sixth inning of every game this year.

·         Pitcher Aaron Rhodes made his collegiate debut in the top of the 7th inning against Georgia Southern.

·         Taylor Gushue’s steal of second base in the bottom of the seventh inning was his first of the season.

·         With his 2-for-3 performance at the plate Wednesday, senior Vickash Ramjit notched his second two-hit game of the season and ninth of his career.

·         Turgeon also had two hits on the night. It’s his first multi-hit game of the season and 10th two-hit game of his career.

·         Sophomore Josh Tobias was the third Gator to have a two-spot in the hit column tonight. It’s his ninth two-hit game of his career.

·         The Gators used nine pitchers in tonight’s game.

·         After giving up six runs through the first five innings, the Florida pitching staff gave up no runs and only one hit for the final four innings.

·         Before giving up a one-out single in the top of the ninth inning, Johnny Magliozzi had set down 12-straight batters to begin the campaign.

·         Magliozzi had four strikeouts in his two innings of work, a new season-high.

·         Eight of UF’s nine starters recorded at least one hit Wednesday night.

·         With his 2.0 innings of work, sophomore Corey Stump set a career-high for innings pitched in a game.

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