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Wednesday May 1, 2013Florida Baseball Travels To No. 3 LSU For Thursday-Saturday Series

Gainesville, Fla.

Florida (25-20/12-9 SEC) visits No. 3 LSU (40-6/16-5 SEC) at Alex Box Stadium for a Thursday-Saturday series in which all three games will be televised. The Gators and Tigers 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 1 p.m.

 

Dave Neal and Kyle Peterson will handle the coverage of the series opener on ESPNU, game two with Lyn Rollins and Ron Swoboda will be carried on Cox Sports, Channel 259 and Channel 1259 HD in Gainesville, while Clay Matvick and Kyle Peterson will be in the booth for Saturday’s finale on ESPN2. 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 on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.

 

With a 12-9 (.571) 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, dropped a pair of outings at No. 17 Mississippi State, swept No. 8 South Carolina, won two at Missouri and defeated Tennessee twice.

 

LSU is 16-5 (.762) and has captured six of its seven series in conference action. The Tigers kicked off SEC play by taking two of three at No. 8 Mississippi State (W, W, L), swept Auburn, Missouri and No. 7 Kentucky, won twice at No. 10 Arkansas (W, L, W), claimed a pair of games at Alabama (W, W, L) and dropped two at home to No. 10 South Carolina (W, L, L) last weekend.

 

The series opener will mark the Gators’ sixth appearance as part of the ESPNU Thursday Night SEC Baseball Game of the Week looking to improve upon a 2-3 (.400) mark. UF fell to No. 18 Arkansas, 4-3, in Fayetteville on May 5, 2011, was on the short end of a 9-3 score at No. 6 South Carolina on March 22, 2012, and a 7-6 decision to No. 7 LSU on April 5, 2012, in Gainesville before defeating No. 3 Kentucky, 5-3, in Lexington on May 3, 2012, and No. 8 South Carolina, 3-2, in Gainesville in April 11, 2013.

 

Quick Hits About the Gators

·         Florida is 4-3 (.571) in its SEC series this spring and has emerged victorious in its last three series (3-0 sweep of No. 8 South Carolina and 2-1 triumphs over Missouri and Tennessee).

·         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 14-4 (.778) to become five games above the .500 plateau at 25-20 (.556).

·         After reaching double-digits in hits 10 times in their first 36 games, the Gators have had 10 or more hits in seven of their last nine games, with a season-high of 18 in the series opener at Missouri on April 19.

·         Named to the NCBWA Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Watch List, sophomore RHP Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) (4-1, 2.01) has collected saves in six of his last seven appearances. His total of 11 saves is two shy of the school record shared by Danny Wheeler (1994) & Josh Fogg (1998).

·         Magliozzi is fourth in the SEC in saves, one behind Mississippi State’s Jonathan Holder and Vanderbilt’s Brian Miller for second place.

·         UF has played the toughest schedule to date in the nation, as its opponents have a combined record of 1,181-654 (.644) as of Wednesday.

·         Florida is 12-10 (.545) versus top-25 opponents this season, the most wins over top-25 squads in the SEC. Against top-five teams, the Gators are 1-4 (.200) this year, 1-2 (.333) on the road and are 9-8 (.529) away from Gainesville in Kevin O’Sullivan’s six-year tenure.

·         Twenty-two of UF’s 45 games (.489) this spring have come against ranked teams and UF is 95-73 (.565) under O'Sullivan when facing a ranked foe, including 33-31 (.516) in an opponent's home park.

·         Since freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (.286) returned to the lineup as a position player in CF for the final game of the series at No. 17 Miss. State, UF is 11-2 (.846). He started the year at shortstop, suffered a broken finger on March 3 against No. 21 Miami (FL) and missed 14 games.

·         Since dropping seven of their first eight one-run decisions of the campaign, the Gators have reeled off five-consecutive decisions by a run, a pair in extra-innings (4-3 in 15 at Missouri on April 20 and 3-2 in 10 over Tennessee last Saturday).

·         Freshman OF Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (.294, 30 R) and sophomore 2B Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (.283, 37 R, 25 RBI) tied for the team lead with a .455 (5-for-11) clip against Tennessee last weekend. Bader is a team-best 9-for-14 on the basepaths this year and Turgeon paces the Orange and Blue in runs scored, walks (21) and homers (five, tied with Taylor Gushue).

·         Junior RHP Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (3-5, 4.06) threw 4.2 scoreless innings in the second meeting with the Vols and is 2-0 in his last three starts with 14 strikeouts in 17 innings, with wins over No. 8 South Carolina (6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 5 K, 2 BB) and Missouri (5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 K, 4 BB).

·         All four of sophomore C Taylor Gushue’s (Boca Raton, Fla.) hits last weekend went for extra bases, with three doubles and a homer. He is batting .304 overall with a team-high 30 RBI and is at .324 in 21 SEC contests with 14 RBI, 13 runs, nine doubles and four round-trippers.

 

Series Nuggets

O’Sullivan is 10-6 (.625) against LSU: 6-3 (.667) in Gainesville, 4-2 (.667) in Baton Rouge and 0-1 (.000) at the SEC Tournament.

 

Florida has claimed five of the last seven regular-season series between the teams, emerging victorious in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by 2-1 margins and in 2010 and 2011 with sweeps. LSU captured the first two meetings in 2009 before the Gators salvaged the finale and the Tigers won a decisive game three last April.

 

2012 Series Recap

No. 1 Florida split its first two games at home with No. 7 LSU last April 5-7, falling in Thursday’s opener, 7-6, before evening the series with a 7-0 shutout on Friday. The Tigers captured the rubber game, 8-7, on Saturday afternoon. After a McKethan Stadium-record crowd of 6,108 fans for the finale, the three-day series drew a school-record total of 16,388 spectators, surpassing the previous total of 14,838 for the series against South Carolina from March 25-27, 2011.

 

The trio of Nolan Fontana, Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) and Preston Tucker (.328, was each 4-for-11 (.364) in the series. Mike Zunino was 5-for-14 (.357) with four doubles, while Gushue and Daniel Pigott batted .333 apiece.

 

LSU overcame a 7-2 deficit with six unanswered runs for a series-clinching 8-7 victory on Saturday, as Ty Ross brought home Grant Dozar with the decisive run on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. Fontana was 2-for-4 with his first career three-run homer in the setback and Tucker’s 60th double at Florida moved him one shy of Mark Ellis’ school-record total set between 1996-99.

 

Crawford tossed six scoreless innings and Zunino was 3-for-5 with three RBI and a pair of doubles to lead UF to a 7-0 win on Friday night. After Crawford pitched brilliantly and out-dueled LSU starter Kevin Gausman, he was followed to the mound by Austin Maddox, who registered three strikeouts and retired all six batters he faced over two innings. Steven Rodriguez recorded the first two outs of the ninth and Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) had a game-ending strikeout to secure Florida’s second shutout of the season and just its second over the Tigers in the series history. Led by multiple-hit efforts by Zunino, Fontana (2-for-4, two RBI), Pigott (2-for-5, two runs) and Gushue (2-for-4), the Gators enjoyed an 11-4 advantage in hits. UF used a two-run double by Zunino on the third and sent nine batters to the plate during a four-run seventh that put the game out of reach.

 

LSU withstood a ninth-inning rally by UF to claim the opener of the three-game weekend series with a 7-6 victory on Thursday night, snapping the Gators’ home winning streak at 15 games. Florida trailed 6-2 in the fourth and was down 7-4 in the eighth before a two-out, two-run single by Ramjit (3-for-4, career-high four RBI, two doubles) narrowed the gap to a run.

 

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