Thursday February 28, 2013Florida Renews Rivalry With No. 21 Miami In Weekend Series At McKethan Stadium
Sunshine State foes Florida (3-6) and No. 21 Miami (9-0) will meet three times this weekend at McKethan Stadium. Start times will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Gators were on the short end of a 7-6 decision in 10 innings to North Florida on Tuesday, while the Hurricanes continued their perfect start with a 5-4 victory over St. Thomas on Tuesday and a 5-1 win over Barry on Wednesday.
All three games between the Gators and Hurricanes will be available on GatorVision and both Friday and Saturday’s games will be carried on Sun Sports with Nick Belmonte and Mick Hubert. Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell will call the action for the Gator IMG Sports Network, live audio and stats will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also follow updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.
Junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (0-1, 4.00) will make his third start of the year to open the series and will face Hurricane sophomore left-hander Chris Diaz (1-0, 0.75). Over 5.1 hitless innings last Friday against FGCU, Crawford had four strikeouts and issued two walks. He was on the hook for the loss to the Eagles when Brooks Beisner changed a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 advantage with a three-run homer.
In a matchup of right-handers, freshman Tucker Simpson (Oxford, Ala.) (0-1, 4.15) will oppose Miami junior Javi Salas (2-0, 0.00) in game two of the series. In 8.2 innings this year, Simpson has six strikeouts and three walks. He kept FGCU off the board until the fifth inning last week but suffered the loss after working 4.2 innings in which he gave up three hits and two runs, with three strikeouts and a walk.
Florida’s starter for Sunday’s finale has yet to be announced, while UM will send sophomore southpaw Andrew Suarez (1-0, 1.80) to the hill.
Quick Hits About the Gators
· Florida seeks to end its five-game losing streak and has taken its last 11 meetings against Miami dating back a 9-6 loss in Coral Gables on March 6, 2010.
· The Gators have claimed their last three regular-season series versus the Hurricanes - 2010 (2-1), 2011 (3-0), 2012 (3-0) - since falling three times at McKethan Stadium from Feb. 27-March 1, 2009.
· The Orange & Blue ended Miami’s season in the 2009 Gainesville Regional, the 2010 Gainesville Super Regional and the 2011 Gainesville Regional.
· In Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s six-year tenure, UF has never dropped consecutive home weekend series.
· Florida is a stellar 157-40 (.797) on its own turf under O’Sullivan and is 36-8 (.818) in three-game series in Gainesville under his guidance - 6-1 (.857) in 2008, 6-3 (.667) in 2009, 8-0 (1.000) in 2010, 8-1 (.889) in 2011, 7-2 (.778) in 2012 and 1-1 (.500) in 2013.
· The Gators have gone to extra innings three times in their past five games after playing four extra-inning contests in 67 games last season.
· The series with Miami continues stretch of nine-consecutive games versus a Sunshine State foe, as the Florida will have a home-and-home series with Jacksonville next Tuesday (away) and Wednesday (home).
· Freshman SS Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) is riding a seven-game hitting streak in which he is 12-for-31 (.387). He has reached base in all nine games this year and is batting .342 overall with six runs and three stolen bases in three attempts.
· Sophomore OF Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) also boasts a seven-game hitting streak, in which he is 10-for-26 (.385) with seven runs and five RBI. He raised his average to .353 overall with a 3-for-5 outing against UNF in which he tied his career high for hits.
· Freshman LF Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) made his starting debut on Tuesday night and went 2-for-4. His first collegiate hit was a single in the second inning and he doubled to right field in the fourth.
· Florida has used 14 pitchers already this season, half of which are freshmen (six true, one redshirt).
· Crawford has limited opponents to a .100 batting average and has given up three hits in 9.0 innings this season, with eight strikeouts and three walks. Left-handed batters are 0-for-11 against him, while right-handed hitters are 3-for-19 (.158).
· Redshirt sophomore 3B Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) paces the squad with a .393 batting average and has driven in 11 runs. He has a team-leading eight two-out RBI and is 6-for-15 (.400) with runners on base.
Miami holds a 123-108-1 advantage in the all-time series, while Florida is 67-45-1 versus the Hurricanes at home. O’Sullivan has a 15-6 (.714) record against Miami, 9-3 (.750) in Gainesville and 6-3 (.667) in Coral Gables. The Gators have taken 14 of the past 15 meetings and their 11-game winning streak in the series dating back to March 7, 2010, is a school record.
2012 Series Recap
No. 1 Florida extended its winning streak to eight games with a sweep of previously unbeaten No. 8 Miami by scores of 7-5, 13-5 and 8-5. The Gators swept UM in a three-game series in Coral Gables for the first time since 2006 and just second time in school history.
The Gators hit .365 (42-for-115) over the three games, with eight doubles and five homers, and out-scored the Hurricanes by a 28-15 margin. Brian Johnson was 5-for-7 (.714), Daniel Pigott was 6-for-12 (.500) and Nolan Fontana was 7-for-15 (.467) with six runs and a solo homer on the weekend. Florida’s bullpen was 2-0 with two saves and a 0.66 ERA during the series, with 18 strikeouts, seven hits, three walks and two runs (one earned) in 13.2 innings.
Trailing 5-3 in the ninth inning on Sunday and down to its final two outs, UF erupted for five runs to hand Miami an 8-5 setback in the series finale. Mike Zunino tied the game with a two-run double, hit .400 (6-for-15) in the series and scored the eventual winning run on a wild pitch. Crawford made his second career start, first on a weekend, and had a then-career-high eight strikeouts over 4.2 innings. Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) notched his first career victory and Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) collected his first career save with a game-ending strikeout. The Gator pitchers tallied a season-high 14 strikeouts in the win.
Johnson (4-for-5) and Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (3-for-4) cranked a pair of long homers and drove in a career-best four RBI to lead the Gators to a series-clinching 13-5 victory on Saturday night. UF pounded out 16 hits and overcame deficits of 3-0 and 5-3 before the largest crowd for a UM home game since 5,063 fans filled the park on April 24, 1999, against Florida State. Pigott (4-for-5) matched his career high with four hits as the Orange and Blue seized the lead with a five-run fifth frame and scored the final 10 runs of the contest.
Hudson Randall gutted out 5.1 innings for the win and Austin Maddox had seven strikeouts over 3.1 innings to collect the save in a 7-5 victory over UM on Friday night. Zunino (4-for-5), Maddox (3-for-3) and Fontana (2-for-5) had multiple-hit efforts for UF. The Gators entered the game with four stolen bases in eight games and were 4-for-5 on the basepaths.