Wednesday May 15, 2013Florida Baseball Completes Regular Season At Eastern Division Rival Georgia
Jockeying for position at the upcoming SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala., Florida (28-25/13-14 SEC) travels to Georgia (19-31/5-19 SEC) for three games this weekend to complete its 56-game regular season. Game times at Foley Field are at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
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.
Junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (3-6, 4.28) will oppose Bulldog senior left-hander Blake Dieterich (2-3, 3.50) in the series opener. Crawford leads UF with 59 strikeouts in 73.2 innings and all three of his victories this season have come against league foes (No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 8 South Carolina and Missouri).
Sophomore lefty Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (3-2, 3.98) will start game two for the Gators on Friday night and face Georgia freshman righty Sean McLaughlin (4-6, 3.49). UGA will send sophomore southpaw Jared Walsh (2-4, 3.21) to the hill in the series finale against a UF pitcher to be determined.
Freshman outfielder Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) is hitting a team-best .310 with 23 runs and seven stolen bases, sophomore catcher Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) occupies the top spot on the squad with 33 RBI and has a .302 batting average, while sophomore outfielder Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (.295) has 22 RBI and 17 doubles and freshman outfielder Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) is at .296 with 35 runs, 20 RBI and a team-leading 11 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Sophomore second baseman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (.280) is the Gators’ leader in runs (40) and walks (26). As a team, Florida is hitting .272, has an ERA of 3.90 and sports a .976 fielding percentage.
With a 13-14 (.481) 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, defeated Tennessee twice, was swept at No. 3 LSU and lost two contests to Auburn last weekend.
Georgia is 5-19 (.208) and has captured one of its nine series in conference action. The Bulldogs kicked off SEC play by falling three times at Texas A&M, was swept by Alabama, dropped a pair at No. 8 Kentucky (L, W, L), lost two to Missouri (L, W, L), fell twice at Auburn (L, L, W), fell twice to No. 2 Vanderbilt (W, L, L), lost both matchups with No. 14 Arkansas, won the only meeting at Tennessee and was swept at No. 12 South Carolina last weekend.
Quick Hits About the Gators
· Florida is 4-5 (.444) in its SEC series this spring and looks to get back on the winning track after dropping all three games at No. 3 LSU and a couple of outings to Auburn over the past two weekends.
· 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 17-9 (.654) to be three games above the .500 plateau at 28-25 (.528).
· Florida is an even 8-8 (.500) in true road games this season and is 4-8 (.333) in SEC play away from Gainesville after facing No. 2 Vanderbilt (W, L, L), No. 17 Mississippi State (L, L, W), Missouri (W, W, L) and No. 3 LSU (L, L, L).
· Kevin O’Sullivan has a 5-0 series record against Georgia and is 5-1 (.833) during his tenure at Foley Field. UF has taken its last six series versus UGA since the Bulldogs posted a sweep at McKethan Stadium from April 28-30, 2006.
· O’Sullivan collected the 250th win of his head coaching career with a 7-1 triumph over Florida Atlantic on May 7.
· UF finished 15-11 (.577) in non-league games and is 13-14 (.481) in SEC play this spring.
· Freshman Richie Martin (.310) batted a team-high .417 (5-for-12) in the series with AU and the Gators are 14-7 (.667) since his return to the lineup for the third game at Mississippi State. He now leads the team in batting average and has reached base in his last 12 games.
· Named to the NCBWA Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Watch List, sophomore RHP Johnny Magliozzi (4-1, 2.18) has collected saves in six of his last nine relief appearances. His total of 11 saves is two shy of the school record shared by Danny Wheeler (1994) & Josh Fogg (1998).
· Magliozzi made his second career SEC start last Saturday versus Auburn and worked a career-high 7.0 innings (7 H, 3 R, 5 K, 1 BB) but was not involved in the decision.
· UF has played the toughest schedule to date in the nation, as its opponents have a combined record of 1,628-945 (.633) entering Wednesday.
· Twenty-five of UF’s 53 games this spring (.472) have come against ranked teams and the Gators’ 12 victories over top-25 squads is the second-highest total in the league behind No. 1 Vanderbilt (13).
· Sophomore Ryan Harris (4-3, 2.65) leads the SEC with 32 appearances and is second on UF with 45 strikeouts in 51 innings of work.
· Freshman Harrison Bader (.296), who has seen action in all 53 games and made 51 starts in the outfield (30 in left, 21 in center), is 11-for-16 on the basepaths and is riding a career-best streak of 12-straight contests reaching base.
· Junior RHP Jonathon Crawford (3-6, 4.28) has thrown three of the Gators' six quality starts this season. He will be making his second career start against Georgia after going 4.1 innings in the series opener last April in which he permitted six hits and one run in the 16-inning game.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is 13-4 (.765) against Georgia, 7-2 (.778) in Gainesville, 5-1 (.833) in Athens and 1-1 (.500) at the SEC Tournament.
The Gators have claimed their last six regular-season series with UGA: 2007 (3-0), 2008 (2-1), 2009 (3-0), 2010 (3-0), 2011 (2-1) and 2012 (2-1).
Florida has emerged victorious from its last five visits to Athens (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011) and posted a 12-3 (.800) mark.
2012 Series Recap – Gators Claimed Two In Gainesville
Florida took two of three games from Georgia (3-2 (16), 3-5, 6-3) last April at McKethan Stadium. Daniel Pigott was 7-for-12 (.583) on the weekend, with five RBI and a pair of homers, while Brian Johnson went 5-for-11 (.455).
The Gator pitching staff registered 27 strikeouts and issued two walks over 34 innings and registered a 2.65 ERA. Austin Maddox threw 6.2 scoreless innings over two appearances against the Bulldogs and saved the finale. Florida and Georgia played tremendous defense, as each team committed one error over the three contests.
Pigott cranked a three-run homer in the sixth inning that snapped a 3-3 tie and propelled the Gators to a 6-3 victory in the deciding game of the series on Sunday afternoon. Pigott (3-for-3) matched his career high by driving in four runs and also had a double in the fourth inning that knotted the contest at 2-2. Zunino was 2-for-4 with his 11th homer, Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) picked up the win in relief and Maddox had a perfect ninth to secure his 11th save.
Behind eight strong innings from Michael Palazzone and a clean ninth by Blake Dieterich, Georgia evened the series on Saturday with a 5-3 victory. Preston Tucker clubbed a two-run homer in the first inning that was the 51st homer of his career, while Johnson had a seven-inning stint (7 H, 4 R, 5 K, 0 BB) and helped his own cause by going 2-for-4. Magliozzi had three strikeouts over two innings of work.
A two-out throwing error on a third strike in the 16th inning allowed the winning run to score as UF edged Georgia, 3-2, on Friday. It was the Gators’ longest outing since defeating LSU, 7-6, in 16 innings on March 22, 1996, and was the longest game by time in Bulldog history. Neither team committed any errors until the final play of the contest. With the action approaching five hours and the clubs locked in a 2-2 stalemate, Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) drew a one-out walk and was sacrificed to second by Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.). A wild pitch allowed Ramjit to take third and he was able to score on a strikeout by Nolan Fontana when the throw went wide of first base. Greg Larson threw three scoreless innings without permitting any hits to earn the victory, while the four Gator pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts and zero walks in 16 innings.