Friday April 5, 2013No. 17 Mississippi State Claims Series Opener Over Florida Baseball, 7-3
A four-run third inning propelled No. 17 Mississippi State (25-8/4-6 SEC) to a 7-3 series-opening victory over Florida (14-17/4-6 SEC) on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field in front of a crowd of 8,414 fans. Senior left-hander Luis Pollorena (5-1) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the win and sophomore Jonathan Holder totaled four strikeouts over the final two innings to collect his ninth save, while four different Bulldogs chipped in with multiple-hit efforts to snap the Gators’ three-game winning streak. Sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (3-for-4) had a career-high three doubles and drove in a pair of runs during the setback.
The Gators seized a 1-0 lead on an RBI double off the wall in left center field by Gushue in the first inning against Pollorena. Freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) had drawn a one-out walk and scored all the way from first base on Gushue’s fifth double of the season that raised his hitting streak to a career-best seven games. A grounder by sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) moved Gushue to third and senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) earned a two-out walk for runners on the corners. Pollorena had redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) ground out to end the frame.
Mississippi State loaded the bases in the second inning with two down but came away empty-handed. Although junior Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (1-5) struck out redshirt sophomore Wes Rea to begin the frame, a wild pitch enabled the Bulldog to reach base. Crawford had junior C.T. Bradford ground into a 4-6-3 double play before seniors Mitch Slauter and Sam Frost came through with back-to-back singles. Freshman Jacob Robson worked a walk to fill the sacks and the right-hander had junior Adam Frazier fly out to center field.
The Bulldogs plated four runs on two hits and two Gator errors in the third to take a 4-1 lead. Junior Hunter Renfroe (2-for-4, two runs) reached on a one-out fielding error by Ramjit and scored on a double down the left-field line by junior Brett Pirtle (2-for-5) to tie the score. Rea (2-for-3, two RBI) singled up the middle for runners on first and third and Bradford walked to load the bases with one down. A passed ball enabled Pirtle to come home for a 2-1 count and Slauter (2-for-4) walked to re-load the bags. A sacrifice fly into left field by Frost brought home Rea and Robson’s grounder was misplayed by senior shortstop Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) to score Bradford with the fourth run.
MSU tacked on another run in the fourth on an RBI single by Rea for a 5-1 advantage. Junior Alex Detz led off with a double down the left-field line and Renfroe walked before Pirtle pushed Detz to third base with a fly ball to right field. Rea boosted the Bulldogs’ margin to four runs with a base-knock through the left side of the infield. Crawford prevented further trouble with a strikeout of Bradford and had a fielder’s choice by Slauter force Rea at second base to complete the inning.
Powers delivered a two-out single in the sixth that scored Gushue to narrow the gap to 5-2. Gushue had opened the inning with his second double of the night to left field and had reached third base on a fly out by Ramjit. After Powers roped a base-hit up the middle to drive in Gushue, freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single into right center. However, Powers was thrown out trying to reach third base to end the inning.
Prior to Mississippi State’s sixth at bat, freshman Parker Danciu (Delray Beach, Fla.) replaced Crawford, who gave up six hits and five runs (two earned) over five innings, with five walks and four strikeouts. Renfroe connected on his 10th homer of the season to right field with one down to give the Bulldogs a 6-2 lead.
Bader started the eighth with a double and scored on Gushue’s third double of the night for a 6-3 game. Gushue became the first Gator with three doubles in an outing since Mike Zunino accomplished the feat against Ole Miss on May 1, 2011. Holder was summoned from the bullpen for redshirt sophomore Ross Mitchell, who gave up two hits and a run in his one inning of work. Holder set down the next three Florida batters to preserve the three-run lead for the hosts.
Rea finalized the 7-3 margin in the eighth with a sacrifice fly to right field off of freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.). Detz had drawn a leadoff walk from Danciu (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R) and Renfroe greeted Vinson with a single into right field to move freshman pinch runner Kyle Hann into scoring position. Pirtle loaded the bases with a bunt single and Rea’s sac fly into foul territory was deep enough to score Hann. Vinson struck out the next two Bulldogs to close the stanza.
Freshman left-hander Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) (1-2, 3.12) will pitch game two for UF against MSU senior righty Kendall Graveman (3-2, 2.43). Bernie Guenther and Ronnie Rantz will broadcast the game at 4 p.m. ET for CSS, which will be carried in Gainesville on Cox Sports, Channel 259 or 1259 (HD). Adam Schick and Bob White will call the action for the Gator IMG Sports Network this weekend, 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.
· Florida was out-hit by a 10-8 count tonight and committed a pair of errors.
· Freshman Richie Martin made his first career start at designated hitter and returned to the starting lineup for the first time since March 3.
· Senior Cody Dent matched his career-high hitting streak of three games with a two-out single in the second inning.
· The Gators had their first passed ball of the season in the third inning.
· Sophomore Taylor Gushue tied his career-best of three hits, all of which were doubles.
· Freshman Harrison Bader scored twice and was 1-for-3.
· Four of Florida’s eight hits tonight were doubles.