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Tuesday March 5, 2013Florida Baseball Outlasts Jacksonville, 8-5

Jacksonville, Fla.

In a back and forth affair in the front end of a home-and-home series against Jacksonville (4-8), Florida (6-7) scored twice in the seventh inning to take the lead and added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth to collect an 8-5 victory on Tuesday night at John Sessions Stadium. The teams will meet again on Wednesday at McKethan Stadium.


Sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) (2-0) matched his career high with six strikeouts over 3.1 scoreless innings to earn the win, freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) was a career-best 3-for-4 with three runs and sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) started the game with a homer and was 2-for-4 with three runs as the Gators claimed their third win in a row.


Turgeon opened the contest by homering down the left-field line off of junior right-hander Zach Gordon, becoming the first Gator to start a contest with a round-tripper since Nolan Fontana accomplished the feat against Oregon State on June 5, 2010, during the NCAA Gainesville Regional. It was Turgeon’s third big fly of the season to match redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) for the team lead.


Sophomore Garrett Ruckel had a one-out double off the wall in left field in the second inning and freshman Ethan Loosen (2-for-4) was hit by a pitch from sophomore starter Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.). The righty worked out of the jam by having freshman Kris Molter hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.


Sophomore Alex McRae delivered a two-out RBI single up the middle to tie the game in the third inning. Junior Zach Houck (3-for-4) punched a single with one down into right field and moved to second on an errant pickoff throw by Shafer. The Gator hurler responded by striking out freshman Michael Babb for the second out but uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Houck to third base. After McRae evened the contest, junior Brady North gave JU runners on the corners with a base-hit through the right side of the infield. Shafer countered with an inning-ending strikeout of junior Drew Luther. 


Molter provided the Dolphins with a 3-1 advantage in the fourth with his first career homer, a two-run shot to left field. Loosen had poked a one-out single into left field and Molter notched his first extra-base hit with a four-bagger.


Redshirt freshman Cory Reid (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) (2-for-5) began the fifth with an infield single and Gordon countered with a strikeout of senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.). Turgeon stepped to the plate and roped a ball to deep right field that seemed destined for extra bases. However, Babb made a leaping grab against the wall and threw all the way to first base to complete a double play.


The Gators plated three runs on two hits and two errors in the sixth to seize a 4-3 lead. Bader started the inning by legging out a single to third base and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) drew a two-out walk from Gordon. Senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) narrowed the gap to 3-2 with an RBI single up the middle, scoring Bader, while Gushue took third and Ramjit went to second on a bobble by Houck in center field. Freshman Josh Baker took over for Gordon (5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R) and let loose a pitch to the backstop that brought across Gushue. Sophomore pinch hitter Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) had a grounder to first base that North misplayed, enabling Ramjit to come in with the fourth run.


Jacksonville answered with two runs and was helped by two errors in the bottom of the frame to re-claim a 5-4 lead. Freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.) replaced Shafer (career-high 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R) and issued a leadoff walk to Molter. Freshman Dylan Dillard laid down a bunt but a throwing error by Gushue allowed Molter to occupy second base. Freshman Parker Danciu (Delray Beach, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen and walked Houck to load the bases with none out. Turgeon misplayed a grounder by Babb that scored Molter with the tying run and McRae delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to put the Dolphins back on top. Danciu caught North looking on strikes and Magliozzi came in and fanned Luther.


In the seventh, Florida scored the tying run on two-out passed ball and went ahead on a wild pitch. Turgeon singled through the left side with one down and Bader followed with a double into the gap in left center for two runners in scoring position. After Powers struck out, junior Jimmy Appleby replaced Baker (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R). Turgeon raced home for a 5-5 game on a passed ball by Luther and Bader scored on ball four to Shafer when Appleby’s pitch eluded Luther.


After Magliozzi struck out the side in the seventh, Houck had a one-out single into left center in the eighth and a grounder by Babb advanced his teammate in scoring position. McRae was plunked for two runners aboard and two down and Magliozzi preserved UF’s one-run lead by having North fly out to left field.


Turgeon was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth by senior Corben Madden, prompting a pitching change. Bader greeted junior righty Adam Maxon with an infield single for his first three-hit effort as a collegian and Powers executed a sacrifice bunt to advance both of his teammates into scoring position. Shafer gave the visitors a 7-5 lead with a sacrifice fly into right field that scored Turgeon. The Dolphins committed consecutive errors with two down on grounders by Ramjit and Tobias to finalize the 8-5 margin. Each team had nine hits in the game.


The Gators and Dolphins will wrap up the series tomorrow at McKethan Stadium at 7 p.m. The contest can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell.


Game Notes

·         Florida improved to 2-0 on the road this season, with wins at UCF and Jacksonville.

·         Justin Shafer’s career-high 10-game hitting streak ended with a 0-for-3 performance but he had a career-high five innings on the mound.

·         Casey Turgeon (2-for-4) and Harrison Bader (3-for-4) were a combined 5-for-8 and scored six runs in the top two spots of the Gator lineup.

·         Cody Dent made his first start of the season at shortstop in place of Richie Martin.

·         Kevin O’Sullivan improved to 4-2 against Jacksonville.


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