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Monday February 17, 2014No. 20 Florida Baseball Entertains UCF On Tuesday Night

Gainesville, Fla.

After taking two of three games from Maryland on Opening Weekend, the No. 20 Gators (2-1) begin a five-game week by facing UCF (3-0) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at McKethan Stadium. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s club will host North Florida (2-1) on Wednesday night before traveling to Coral Gables for a three-game weekend series at No. 17 Miami (2-1).

 

Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell will call the action through GatorZone.com and on the Gator IMG Sports Network. Live stats will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also follow updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball team.

 

QUICK HITS ABOUT THE GATORS

·         With the series triumph over Maryland, Florida improved to 7-0 in season-opening series under Kevin O’Sullivan.

·         Dating back to 2002, the Gators hold a 12-1 (.923) record in opening weekend series at home. In O’Sullivan’s tenure, Florida has swept Siena (2008), Louisville (2009) and USF (2010 & 2011) and captured two of the meetings with Cal State Fullerton (2012), Duke (2013) and Maryland (2014).

·         The Gators used 10 different newcomers on the first weekend of action, eight freshmen and two junior college transfers. Freshmen Ryan Larson (LF) and Buddy Reed (CF) each started all three contests against the Terps, freshmen Peter Alonso (DH/3B) and A.J. Puk (DH) started two games apiece and junior Braden Mattson started in right field in game three. Freshman RHP Brett Morales drew the starting assignment on Saturday and fellow rookies Dane Dunning, Puk and Kirby Snead saw action out of the bullpen. 

·         Sophomore shortstop Richie Martin was a team-best .455 (5-for-11) in the series, with four runs, three RBI and a pair of doubles in the finale. 

·         Junior catcher Taylor Gushue drove in a team-high five RBI and was 4-for-11 (.364). He snapped a 3-3 tie with a two-run single in the second inning of the decisive third game and had a sacrifice fly.

·         Junior right-hander Ryan Harris had two appearances in which he did not allow any hits or runs and closed Sunday’s game to pick up his first career save.

·         Led by a solid 5.1-inning start by junior left-hander Bobby Poyner, who registered a career-high five strikeouts and yielded three hits, UF posted its first shutout in a season opener since 2006 with a 4-0 blanking of Maryland. Harris (1.2 IP) and sophomore southpaw Danny Young (2.0 IP) combined on the three-hitter.

 

DRAWING THE START

Freshman Logan Shore will be making his collegiate debut for the Gators and will oppose UCF junior righty Zach Rodgers (0-0, 0.00). The Florida right-hander was selected in the 29th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins with the 860th choice. Shore was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Minnesota last spring after going 9-0 with a 0.27 earned run average on the mound and a .429 batting average at the plate. He claimed the 2013 Mr. Baseball Award, presented by the Minnesota Minute Men in cooperation with the Twins.

 

SERIES NUGGETS

The Gators have taken eight of the past 12 meetings against the Knights, including a pair of 5-3 wins last season in Orlando on Feb. 19 and April 2. O’Sullivan is 6-2 (.750) against UCF, 4-1 (.800) in Gainesville and 2-1 (.667) in Orlando.

 

LAST MEETING BETWEEN GATORS & KNIGHTS

Trailing 3-2 with two outs in the seventh inning, Florida tied the game on a fielding error and moved in front on a wild pitch during a 5-3 victory over UCF on April 2, 2013, at McKethan Stadium. The Gators overcame a 2-0 deficit with a pair of runs in the sixth before the Knights seized a one-run advantage in the seventh.

 

Harris had a career-high four strikeouts over two innings to pick up the win, while Johnny Magliozzi worked a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to pocket his sixth save. Lefty Daniel Gibson threw a career-high 4.1 scoreless innings and all nine UF starters reached base safely.

 

Both single-game and season tickets for the 2014 Gator Baseball season can be purchased online at www.GatorZone.com/tickets or by calling the Gator Ticket Office at 1-800-34-GATOR from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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