Monday April 22, 2013Florida Baseball Returns Home To Host USF On Tuesday Night
Florida (22-19/10-8 SEC) will meet one of the nation’s hottest teams in USF (26-14/10-2 Big East) on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium in its first of four games this week. The Bulls are riding the crest of a 12-game winning streak, while the Gators have captured 11 of their last 14 contests. UF will later host Tennessee (17-21/5-13 SEC) starting Friday night in another pivotal conference weekend series.
The contest between the Gators and Bulls will be carried live on FOX Sports Florida in Gainesville on Channel 70 and 1070 (HD) with Nick Belmonte & Mick Hubert and streamed on GatorVision. Jeff Cardozo and Larry Vettel 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.
Over the weekend in their first trip to Missouri, the Gators took the first two games in Columbia, 8-6 and 4-3 in 15 innings, to raise their winning streak to a season-high eight games, before the Tigers avoided the sweep with an 8-2 triumph.
Sophomore catcher Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (.295, team-leading 24 RBI) hit .438 (7-for-16) over the three games with MU, while senior first baseman Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) continued his strong season by going 6-for-15 (.400). Ramjit leads Florida with a .325 batting average overall and is a team-best .382 in league play. He ranks second in runs scored (27) and is third in RBI (22).
Gushue was a bright spot in Florida’s setback on Sunday, as he went 3-for-4 with a solo homer. Freshman righty Tucker Simpson (Oxford, Ala.) (1-2, 4.91) made his SEC starting debut but was on the hook for the defeat.
The Gators outlasted the Tigers by a 4-3 count in 15 innings to clinch the series on Saturday. It was UF’s first extra-inning win in five attempts on the season and the team’s bullpen threw 12.2 scoreless innings. Sophomore second baseman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (.273, 30 R, 23 RBI) had a fielder’s choice that brought home freshman outfielder Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (.276, 26 R) with the eventual winning run as the Gators capped a comeback from a 3-0 deficit. Turgeon was 3-for-8 and drove in three of the Gators’ four runs, while Bader, sophomore outfielder Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (.319, 17 RBI) and Ramjit chipped in with two hits apiece. Sophomore lefty Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (2-0, 4.26) picked up the win and sophomore Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) (3-1, 1.91) stranded runners on second and third base by ending the game on a grounder. Junior southpaw Daniel Gibson (2-0, 1.99) provided a career-high 4.2 innings of scoreless relief as the fifth of UF’s eight pitchers in the contest.
Florida banged out a season-high 18 hits and overcame a 4-1 Tiger advantage to emerge victorious in the series opener, 8-6. Junior righty Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (3-5, 4.37) won his second-consecutive start by working 5.2 innings and was supported by three hits apiece from Gushue, freshman outfielder Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.), Ramjit and sophomore third baseman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.). A three-run fifth inning moved the Orange and Blue in front and featured a solo shot by Turgeon that was the Gators’ first round-tripper since March 31 against Ole Miss. Florida batted a scorching 10-for-17 (.588) with two outs and notched six two-out RBI in the contest.
Quick Hits About the Gators
· Although its season-high eight-game winning streak ended in the series finale at Missouri on Sunday, 8-2, Florida has emerged victorious in its last two SEC series (3-0 sweep of No. 8 South Carolina and 2-1 triumph over Missouri).
· Since a 4-3 defeat in 11 innings to No. 11 Ole Miss on March 29 that dropped their record to 11-16 (.407), the Gators have gone 11-3 (.786) to improve to three games above the .500 plateau at 22-19 (.537).
· UF is 9-7 (.563) versus Sunshine State foes this spring - 2-0 vs. UCF, 1-3 vs. FGCU, 1-2 vs. Florida State, 2-0 vs. Jacksonville, 2-1 vs. Miami and 1-1 vs. North Florida.
· Magliozzi has collected saves in his last six appearances, bringing his season total to 11, which is two shy of the Gators’ school record shared by Danny Wheeler (1994) and Josh Fogg (1998).
· Magliozzi is tied for second in the SEC in saves with Vanderbilt’s Brian Miller, one behind Mississippi State’s Jonathan Holder and South Carolina’s Tyler Webb.
· UF has played the toughest schedule to date in the nation, as its opponents have a combined record of 992-505 (.663).
· Florida is 14-13 (.519) at McKethan Stadium this spring and has taken its last six home contests.
· Gushue was a team-best 7-for-16 (.438) at Missouri and leads the Orange and Blue in RBI (24) and walks (20).
· Ramjit had another productive weekend, going 6-for-15 (.400) and now leads UF in both overall (.325) and SEC batting average (.382). A fourth-inning double on Sunday raised his hitting streak to seven games, matching his career-long skein.
· Shafer (.319, 17 RBI) continues to lead the SEC with 16 two-baggers. Two of his four hits during the series with the Tigers were doubles and he was 4-for-14 (.286) in Columbia.
· Turgeon (.273, 23 RBI) led UF with five RBI at Missouri, none bigger than his fielder’s choice in the 15th inning that brought home Bader with the eventual winning run. Turgeon was 3-for-8 in that outing, setting a career high for at bats (8) and matching his season high of three RBI.
· The Gators are 11-8 (.579) when playing error-free baseball this year, including five of the past 10 contests.
· Twenty-one of UF’s 41 games this spring have come against ranked teams and the squad’s 11 wins over top-25 is the most in the SEC.
· In addition to Magliozzi (1.91), junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) (2-0) also sports a sub-2.00 ERA at 1.99. Until last Friday night, the left-hander had not surrendered a run in nine-straight appearances.
· The Gators are 8-1 (.889) this season when Martin (.271) starts in center field and had won eight in a row until Sunday.
Florida had reeled off 12-straight victories over USF before the Bulls ended the slide at McKethan Stadium last April with a 5-3 win. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is 10-1 (.909) against USF, 8-1 (.889) in Gainesville and 2-0 (1.000) in Tampa. The Gators have taken 34 of the 43 encounters on their home field and hold a 53-24 (.688) advantage in the all-time series.
Last Meeting Between Gators & Bulls
Andrew Longley belted a pair of solo homers and drove in three runs and Jimmy Falla broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single to lead USF over No. 2 Florida, 5-3, on April 24, 2012, at McKethan Stadium. It was the Bulls’ first victory over the Gators since May 11, 2005, ending a 12-game losing streak in the series.
Nolan Fontana and Mike Zunino had each homered for UF during a three-run sixth to erase a 3-0 deficit. With the Gators down to their final three outs, Gushue had a leadoff single up the middle and Fontana delivered a one-out single into right center off USF’s Nick Gonzalez. The Bulls summoned closer Steven Leasure from the bullpen and he had Shafer foul out to right field before walking Preston Tucker to load the bases. The righty had Zunino (2-for-5) ground out to nail down the win for Andrew Barbosa and collect his sixth save. Daniel Pigott went 3-for-4 with two doubles in the setback, while Magliozzi’s 4.2-inning start was the longest outing of his career. Gibson suffered the defeat.