Sunday May 5, 2013Florida Baseball Begins Five-Game Homestand Against Florida A&M Monday Night
Florida (25-23/12-12 SEC) kicks off a five-game slate at McKethan Stadium this week by hosting Florida A&M (7-40/6-17 MEAC) on Monday at 7 p.m. The Gators will welcome Florida Atlantic (28-18/13-10 Sun Belt) to town on Tuesday night and then face Western Division rival Auburn (26-19/8-15 SEC) from Friday through Sunday.
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 dropped all three games to No. 3 LSU in Baton Rouge over the weekend by scores of 3-2, 5-0 and 18-6. Sophomore second baseman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (.288, 38 R, 26 RBI) hit .364 (4-for-11) and freshman outfielder Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (.294, 30 R, 14 RBI) batted .300 (3-for-10) to lead the Gator offense, which was held to a .214 team batting average in the series.
UF jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the series finale on Saturday on an RBI triple by sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-for-3) (.302, 31 RBI, 24 R) and a sacrifice fly by sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (.306, 25 R, 22 RBI). Turgeon (3-for-4) had singled up the middle with one down and Gushue lined a triple off of the wall in right field to put the visitors on the scoreboard. Shafer followed with his fourth sacrifice fly of the season to straightaway center field to bring home Gushue. Florida used six-consecutive singles in the ninth to score four runs, including RBI singles by freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (.282), Turgeon and freshman Kevin Stypulkowski (Lake Worth, Fla.) and a run-scoring fielder’s choice by redshirt freshman Cory Reid (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) to finalize the scoring.
LSU sophomore right-hander Aaron Nola fired a four-hitter in a 5-0 victory on Friday night. The Gators saw an end to their three-series SEC winning streak and are now 4-4 in league series this spring. Sophomore Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (2-2, 4.56) made the first conference start of his career on the road but took the loss. Entering the game, Florida had been held scoreless just once on the season (2-0 at Mississippi State on April 6). UF was 3-for-4 on stolen-base opportunities, with Bader (10), Martin (6) and senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) (2) each successful on his attempts.
Junior Ty Ross lofted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly into center field in the eighth inning to snap a 2-2 tie and lift LSU to a 3-2 series-opening victory on Thursday night. The Gators had broken the ice with an unearned run in the third inning. Dent and Martin (2-for-4) had consecutive one-out bunt singles and Turgeon earned a free pass to load the bases. Although sophomore Cody Glenn fielded a grounder by Gushue and threw out Dent at the plate, the Tigers failed to execute the inning-ending double play on a fielding error and Martin was able to score on the play. With Florida trailing by a run in the seventh, 2-1, sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) singled sharply to left field with two down, ending a stretch of 12 consecutive Gators set down. Moments later, Bader tied the game with a double into the gap in left center, scoring Tobias all the way from first base. Florida’s stretch of five-straight one-run victories came to an end and the Gators played error-free baseball for the 22nd time this year (12-10).
Kevin O’Sullivan is 1-0 against Florida A&M, while the Gators have claimed all 17 meetings between the Sunshine State programs.
Shafer had a career-high six RBI and No. 1 Florida reeled off 14 unanswered runs in a 15-2 victory over Florida A&M on March 7 last season. Shafer finished 1-for-2 with three sacrifice flies that drove in four runs, added a two-run double as part of a four-run seventh and also struck out the side in the ninth. Nolan Fontana drew three walks and had a two-run single and Preston Tucker drove in a pair of runs. After Greg Larson tossed three scoreless innings, with four strikeouts and three hits, he was followed to the mound by Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 0 H), Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 1 K, 0 H) and Shafer (1.0 IP, 3 K). The Gators totaled 11 hits and did not commit any errors.