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Monday May 20, 2013Florida Faces Texas A&M In 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament Opening Round

Hoover, Ala.

Eighth-seeded Florida (29-27) will meet ninth-seeded Texas A&M (30-25) in the third game of the SEC Tournament on Tuesday afternoon in Hoover, Ala. The winner of the contest between the Aggies and Gators will advance to the double-elimination portion of the 12-team event.

 

The game will begin at 5:30 p.m. ET and be carried on CSS, Channels 259 and 1259 HD on the Cox Communications cable system in the Gainesville/Ocala area with Joe Beckwith and Mike Morgan. 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.

         

Sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) (4-1, 2.14) will be making his third start of the season, as well as his initial SEC Tournament appearance when he takes the mound against Texas A&M sophomore right-hander Daniel Mengden (7-3, 1.92).

 

Pitching with Boston’s area code of 617 written on his cap, Magliozzi has 12 saves and a 2.14 ERA in 54.2 innings and 27 appearances this season. The righty has 45 strikeouts, surpassing the 21 he totaled as a freshman, and permitted 12 walks. Magliozzi made his season starting debut and first-ever SEC start at Mississippi State on April 7 and was the winner. He is 12-for-14 on save chances (exceptions on Feb. 20 against Georgia Southern and April 27 versus Tennessee).

 

Over the weekend, Florida was on the wrong side of its final regular-season series at Georgia. The Gators claimed Thursday’s opener, 4-2, before the Bulldogs emerged victorious in the final two games, 3-1 and 9-2.

 

Freshman outfielder Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) leads the Orange and Blue with a .306 batting average and has reached base in his last 15 games, while freshman outfielder Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (.303) was a team-best 4-for-8 (.500) at Georgia and is now 13-for-18 on the basepaths this season. He has also reached base in 15 consecutive outings.

 

UGA scored multiple runs in three different innings en route to a 9-2 win to claim the weekend series between the Eastern Division rivals on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs used a 14-hit offensive surge and three home runs to subdue the Gators in the teams’ regular-season finale. The trio of Martin, senior first baseman Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (.292, 24 RBI) and sophomore outfielder Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (.298, 17 doubles) chipped in with two hits apiece. Ramjit was 5-for-11 (.455) over the three games with the Bulldogs and led the Gators with a .313 clip in conference play.

 

A three-run sixth inning propelled the Bulldogs to a 3-1 victory on Friday night. UGA freshman right-hander Sean McLaughlin (5-6) yielded four hits and one run over seven innings before redshirt freshman Mike Mancuso worked a scoreless eighth and junior Dylan Cole retired the Gators in order in the ninth to collect his fourth save. Sophomore lefty Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (3-3, 3.41) had carried a shutout into the sixth but was on the hook for the defeat. Sophomore third baseman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) (.238) had provided UF with a 1-0 lead courtesy of an RBI double in the second inning.

 

Bader snapped a 2-2 tie with an RBI single in the ninth inning and Florida added an insurance run on a balk to take the series opener, 4-2, on Thursday night at Foley Field. Bader was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, sophomore right-hander Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (5-3, 2.65) worked out of a jam in the eighth inning to earn the win, while Magliozzi registered the final three outs to notch his 12th save. Magliozzi is now one save shy of the school’s single-season mark shared by Danny Wheeler (1994) and Josh Fogg (1998). Junior righty Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (3-6, 4.03) turned in a quality start by scattering five hits and permitting two runs (one earned) over 6.2 innings.

 

Quick Hits About the Gators

·         Florida was on the short end of its final three regular-season series (3-0 at No. 3 LSU, 2-1 to Auburn and 2-1 at Georgia).

·         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 went 18-11 (.621) to finish the regular season two games above the .500 plateau at 29-27 (.518).

·         Florida is No. 1 in Strength of Schedule (SOS) by Warren Nolan and its Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is No. 26 according to Boyd’s World.

·         The Gators will be making their league-leading 33rd appearance at the SEC Tourney and are 55-55 (.500) all-time at the event.

·         UF has six SEC Tournament titles on its ledger: 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1991 and 2011. Before the triumph in 2011, all of these championships came at other venues besides Hoover when the event was held on campuses. The Gators have been the runner-up on five occasions: 1977, 1979, 1992, 1996 and 2000.

·         In five previous SEC Tournament appearances, Kevin O’Sullivan boasts a 9-9 (.500) record. The Gators were 0-2 in 2008, 1-2 in 2009, 2-2 in 2010, 4-1 in 2011 and 2-2 in 2012.

·         O’Sullivan collected the 250th win of his head coaching career with a 7-1 triumph over Florida Atlantic on May 7.

·         With freshman Richie Martin (.306) now starting in center field after being the team’s shortstop, the Gators are 15-9 (.625) since his return to the lineup for the third game at Mississippi State. He leads the team in batting average and has reached base in his last 15 games.

·         Named to the NCBWA Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Watch List, sophomore RHP Johnny Magliozzi (4-1, 2.14) has collected saves in seven of his last 10 relief appearances. His total of 12 saves is one shy of the school record shared by Danny Wheeler (1994) & Josh Fogg (1998).

·         Magliozzi made his second career SEC start on May 11 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. He will be drawing the starting assignment against Texas A&M.

·         UF has played the toughest schedule to date in the nation, as its opponents have a combined record of 1,767-1,112 (.614) entering this week.

·         Twenty-five of UF’s 56 games this spring (.446) have come against ranked teams and the Gators’ 12 victories over top-25 squads is tied for the third-highest total in the league behind No. 1 Vanderbilt (13) and No. 3 LSU (13).

·         Sophomore Ryan Harris (5-3, 2.65) leads the SEC with 34 appearances and is second on UF with 46 strikeouts in 54.1 innings of work.

·         Freshman Harrison Bader (.303), who has seen action in all 56 games and made 54 starts in the outfield (32 in left, 22 in center), is 13-for-18 on the basepaths and is riding a career-best streak of 15-straight contests reaching base.

·         In the most recent SEC statistics, the Gators are fourth in field percentage (.976), 10th in batting average (.270) and 11th in ERA (3.89).

 

Series Nuggets

Texas A&M has captured six of the seven previous encounters with Florida, including both ends of a home-and-home series in 2006 (2-1 in Gainesville) and 2007 (3-0 in College Station). In the teams’ initial meeting, the Aggies handed the Gators a 6-5 defeat in NCAA East Regional held in Gainesville on May 23, 1992.

 

It’s Been A Long Time Since Gators & Aggies Have Met

Making its first road trip to a Big 12 school since 1986 at Oklahoma State over the weekend of March 9-11, 2007, UF found itself on the wrong edge of the ledger against one of the hottest teams in the country, Texas A&M.

 

The Aggies snapped a 1-1 tie against Bryan Augenstein with three runs in the sixth and tacked on three more in the eighth to take the opener, 7-1. On Saturday, the hosts erupted for a season-high 18 hits, including six doubles and three homers, during a 13-5 victory. A&M completed the sweep on Sunday, 6-1, to run its mark to 18-2.

 

Florida batted .213 (20-for-94) during the series, compared to a .353 (36-for-102) effort by its hosts. The Gators struck out 25 times and registered an earned run average of 8.62. Avery Barnes’ then-career-high seven-game hitting streak ended with a 0-for-3 performance in the opener.

 

Although the mention of his name over the P.A. system elicited a negative reaction, Austin Pride enjoyed the best weekend of any Gator in Texas. The left fielder batted .364 (4-for-11) over the three games and went 3-for-4 with three RBI in game two.

 

 

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