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Wednesday April 10, 2013Florida Baseball Hosts No. 8 South Carolina In Thursday-Saturday Series

Gainesville, Fla.

Florida (16-18/5-7 SEC) welcomes No. 8 South Carolina (27-7/8-4 SEC) to McKethan Stadium for a Thursday-Saturday series in which all three games will be televised. The Gators and Gamecocks will be featured on the ESPNU Thursday Night SEC Baseball Game of the Week at 7:30 p.m. and then be carried on CSS/Cox Sports Friday at 7:30 p.m. and ESPN2 on Saturday at 3 p.m.

 

Dave Neal and Kyle Peterson will handle the coverage of the series opener (ESPNU) and finale (ESPN2), while game two with Bernie Guenther and Rusty Ensor will be carried on Cox Sports, Channel 259 and Channel 1259 HD in Gainesville. Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert 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 on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.

 

Florida used a sacrifice fly by sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) and capitalized on a pair of errors by No. 7 Florida State in the ninth inning en route to a 4-3 victory over the Seminoles on Tuesday night. South Carolina extended its winning streak to four games on a walk-off solo homer by sophomore Joey Pankake to down The Citadel, 6-5.

 

With a 5-7 league record, UF fell to No. 10 Kentucky twice on the opening SEC weekend at McKethan Stadium, was on the short end of a 2-1 series at No. 2 Vanderbilt, took two of three games from No. 11 Ole Miss and dropped a pair of outings at No. 17 Mississippi State last weekend.

 

USC (8-4) has captured three of its four series in conference action. The Gamecocks began by taking two of three at Missouri but was then swept at home by No. 17 Arkansas. The past two weekends have resulted in sweeps over No. 13 Texas A&M and Tennessee.

 

Florida is 8-10 (.444) against ranked teams this season and has faced a ranked opponent in 15 of its last 17 outings (6-9 mark): lost to No. 5 Florida State at home, fell twice to No. 10 Kentucky (W, L, L), dropped a pair of games at No. 2 Vanderbilt (W, L, L), lost to No. 4 Florida State in Jacksonville, beat No. 11 Ole Miss twice (L, W, W), was defeated twice by No. 17 Mississippi State (L, L, W) and beat No. 7 Florida State in Tallahassee.

 

Junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (1-5, 4.37) will be making his team-leading ninth start to kick off the series with South Carolina and will oppose senior left-hander Nolan Belcher (5-2, 1.70). Crawford is 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in four SEC outings, with 21 K in 26 innings and an opponent batting average of .225.

 

Freshman Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) (1-3, 3.38) is set for his third-consecutive weekend start after going game two at Mississippi State last weekend (4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 K, 2 BB). The lefty boasts a 1.59 ERA in four SEC appearances spanning 11.1 innings. Young will face USC sophomore southpaw Jordan Montgomery (3-0, 0.78).

 

Saturday’s projected Gator starter, sophomore Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.), is 3-1 with six saves and a team-low 2.25 ERA in 36 innings and 17 appearances this season. The righty has 27 strikeouts, surpassing the 21 he totaled as a freshman, and permitted just three walks. Magliozzi matched his season high with 3.2 innings to save the deciding win over Ole Miss and had a 1-2-3 ninth on April 2 to edge UCF. He made his season starting debut and first-ever SEC start at Mississippi State and was the winning pitcher. The Gamecocks have not announced a starter for the series finale yet.

 

Quick Hits About the Gators

·         Florida is coming off of a 4-3 victory at No. 7 Florida State on Tuesday night in which it snapped a 3-3 tie with a ninth-inning run and the team's eight wins over ranked teams this spring is the highest total in the SEC.

·         The triumph in Tallahassee marked the first time in school history that the Gator football, men's basketball and baseball squads captured all of the road contests during the same school year versus the Seminoles.

·         The Gators will be playing their fifth of 10 SEC series and the previous four sets have all been 2-1 margins (UF is 1-3 on league weekends).

·         UF has played the toughest schedule to date in the nation, as its opponents have a combined record of 719-295 (.709).

·          Florida is 8-10 (.444) versus top-25 opponents this season and is 91-73 (.555) in Kevin O’Sullivan’s six-year tenure. UF is 17-12 (.586) in Gainesville against top-10 foes under O’Sullivan.

·         Crawford will begin the series and make his second career start against the Gamecocks. He started the finale in Columbia last March and gave up four hits and three runs (one earned) over five innings but was not involved in the decision.

·         Sophomore C Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (.294) enters the series on a career-high 10-game hitting streak in which he is 13-for-36 (.361) with seven runs, six RBI and six doubles. He was a team-best .455 (5-for-11) with four doubles at No. 17 Mississippi State last weekend.

·         Sophomore OF Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) leads the SEC with 12 doubles and paces the Gator offense in batting average (.311), total bases (62), hits (41) and slugging percentage (.470).

·         Magliozzi emerged victorious in his SEC starting debut last Sunday, working 5.2 innings in which he yielded five hits and three runs to the Bulldogs. Over 36 innings this season, the righty has totaled 27 strikeouts and issued just three walks, with six saves in seven opportunities.

·         After suffering a broken finger on March 3 against Miami (FL) and missing 14-straight games, freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (.313) came in as a pinch runner for three games before serving as the Gators’ designated hitter for the first two games at MSU and then made his collegiate starting debut in center field for the finale, when he was 2-for-5 with an RBI single and a run scored out of the leadoff spot.

·         Tobias (.227) was a career-best 3-for-4 in the series finale with MSU, including an infield single and a two-run double during the eight-run fifth inning. He drove in the game-winning run on Tuesday night with a sacrifice fly to right field to edge the Seminoles.

·         The Gators are 9-8 (.529) when playing error-free baseball this year, including the last three and five of the past six outings.

·         UF is 29-of-45 (.644) on the basepaths this spring, led by six thefts by freshman OF Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (6-for-11) and four by Tobias (4-for-4). The Orange and Blue is 8-for-13 (.615) on stolen-base opportunities through 12 SEC games.

 

Series Nuggets

South Carolina holds a 42-32 (.568) advantage in the all-time series, although Florida is 17-13 (.567) versus the Gamecocks at

McKethan Stadium. The teams met five times last year, with UF taking two of the three encounters in Columbia last March and winning at the SEC Tournament. USC posted a 7-3 win in the College World Series opener for both teams.

 

Kevin O’Sullivan is 10-10 (.500) against South Carolina, 4-2 (.667) in Gainesville, 5-4 (.556) in Columbia, 1-1 (.500) at the SEC Tourney and 0-3 (.000) at the NCAA Tourney (all in Omaha).

 

Last Meeting Between Gators & Gamecocks

In the teams’ most recent meeting, South Carolina overcame a 2-0 deficit with a five-run fifth inning on its way to a 7-3 victory in front of 25,291 fans on June 16, 2012, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha to complete the second day of the 66th NCAA College World Series.

 

Erik Payne (1-for-4) delivered a bases-clearing three-run triple, while LB Dantzler (2-for-5, two runs) had an RBI double and Chase Vergason (2-for-5) added a run-scoring single in the fifth-inning outburst that helped USC seize control of the contest.

 

Michael Roth scattered seven hits and yielded three runs over 6.1 innings to pick up the victory and was followed to the mound by Tyler Webb (0.2 IP) and Matt Price, who notched three strikeouts and gave up two hits over two scoreless innings to collect his 12th save of the year. Brian Johnson surrendered eight hits and five runs over four-plus innings to take the loss.

 

2012 Regular-Season Recap

No. 1 Florida dropped the first game at No. 6 South Carolina on March 22, 2012, 9-3, to see its school-record winning streak end at 18 games before rallying to take the series over the Gamecocks with an 8-2 victory on Friday and a 5-4 triumph on Saturday.

 

Florida captured the series after losing the opener, marking the first time that had happened since the 2011 season at Mississippi State, when the Gators fell in game one (7-5) and claimed the next two outings (18-0, 3-1).

 

Nolan Fontana delivered a tie-breaking, two-out, two-run triple in the ninth to lift UF to a 5-4 victory in the finale. Fontana (2-for-5) had entered the contest 1-for-33 in his career against the Gamecocks and came through with the decisive hit. The Gamecocks pulled within 5-4 on a solo homer by Dantzler before Austin Maddox closed it out.

 

Mike Zunino belted a three-run homer in the first inning of game two against the Gamecocks and added a solo shot in the rubber game, while Preston Tucker was 4-for-11 (.364) at USC.

 

A five-run first inning and a season-high four homers by the Gators paved the way to an 8-2 victory that evened the series on Friday night. Zunino (1-for-4, three RBI) and Johnson (2-for-5, two RBI) delivered back-to-back homers in the first inning and Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (3-for-4) connected on solo shots in both the sixth and ninth frames for the first multiple-dinger outing of his career. Johnson allowed two runs and five hits over six innings to earn the win, while UF totaled 11 hits and also drew a season-high 10 walks. The Gators sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning and plated five runs. Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) threw 2.2 scoreless innings to end the game.

 

In the series opener, South Carolina snapped a 2-2 tie with a four-run seventh inning and added three runs in the eighth to defeat UF, 9-3. Hudson Randall set a career high with 11 strikeouts and yielded seven hits and two runs over 5.2 innings but was not involved in the decision. He was the first UF pitcher to reach double-digit strikeouts since Alex Panteliodis had 12 against Miami (Fla.) in the 2010 NCAA Gainesville Super Regional.

 

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