Wednesday February 26, 2014No. 23 Florida Baseball Returns Home To Host FGCU & Illinois in Double Round-Robin Event
After falling twice at then-No. 20 Miami last weekend, No. 23 Florida (5-3) will entertain FGCU (5-3) and Illinois (2-4) over a four-day span in Gainesville. Each team will play one another twice, with the Gators having single games from Thursday-Sunday and the Eagles and Illini tangling on Friday and Saturday.
Florida’s first two games will be carried on FOX Sports Florida in Gainesville at 7 p.m. – Thursday versus FGCU with Nick Belmonte and Larry Vettel and Friday against Illinois with Belmonte and Mick Hubert. These pair of games will also be available on GatorVision through GatorZone.com, as well as Saturday night’s second encounter with the Eagles.
All four games this weekend will be carried through GatorZone.com and can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell. Live stats for each game 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
· Florida has not hosted a regular-season tournament on its own turf since the 2006 season, when Missouri, Ohio State and Wake Forest came to town for The Pepsi Classic.
· The Gators are hitting .258 as a team, with a 4.17 team earned run average and a fielding percentage of .983 (5 errors in 8 games).
· Junior catcher Taylor Gushue (.387, 9 RBI) went 6-for-12 (.500) with four runs and two RBI at Miami, junior outfielder Justin Shafer (.250) was 4-for-10 (.400) with two RBI and freshman outfielder Ryan Larson (.217) was 4-for-11 (.364).
· Sophomore shortstop Richie Martin (.333, 9 runs) has hit safely in all 8 games this season and is on a career-high 12-game hitting streak dating back to last season. He has batted in the leadoff spot in each of UF’s contests.
· Junior transfer Braden Mattson has seen action at catcher, designated hitter, first base and right field already and is batting a team-high .429 overall, with a 7-game hitting streak in which he is 9-for-20 (.450) with 6 RBI and 6 runs. All three of his hits at Miami were doubles.
· Fifteen different pitchers saw time on the hill for the Gators over the 25 innings in Coral Gables and the group registered 18 strikeouts and limited the Hurricanes to a .240 clip.
· Florida’s bullpen is 4-1 with 4 saves and has registered a 3.12 ERA in 40.1 innings, while its starting rotation is 1-2 in 28.2 innings.
· Junior right-handed reliever Ryan Harris (1-0) has not given up any runs in 4 appearances spanning 4.2 innings and has 1 save.
· Sophomore lefty Danny Young (1-0, 2.57, 1 save) has 6 strikeouts and 0 walks in 7 innings and has limited opponents to a .120 clip.
· UF has 14 extra-bases hits this season - 11 doubles, 2 triples and 1 homer - and is 3-for-4 on stolen-base opportunities.
· The trio of Martin (SS), freshman Buddy Reed (CF) and junior Casey Turgeon (2B) have started all 8 games at their respective positions.
After the Gators had captured six of the seven previous meetings with FGCU, the Eagles notched a three-game sweep at McKethan Stadium between Feb. 22-24 in the second weekend series of 2013. UF later notched a 5-3 victory in Fort Myers last April. Kevin O’Sullivan is 7-4 (.636) against the Eagles, 5-4 (.556) in Gainesville and 2-0 (1.000) in Fort Myers.
LAST MEETING BETWEEN GATORS & EAGLES
Josh Tobias snapped a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the sixth inning and Florida added three more runs in the seventh inning to post a 5-3 victory over FGCU on April 16, 2013, at Hammond Stadium, the home of the Fort Myers Miracle and the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins.
Left-hander Bobby Poyner permitted one run and four hits over 5.1 innings to lift the Gators to their sixth-consecutive victory, while Gushue (2-for-4) delivered a two-run double in the seventh, Vickash Ramjit (2-for-4) chipped in with a two-out RBI single in the seventh and Shafer went 2-for-5. Johnny Magliozzi had three strikeouts over the final 1.2 innings to secure his ninth save in 10 opportunities this season. The Gators overcame five errors, leading to two unearned runs, in downing the Eagles in the teams’ fourth meeting of the campaign.
POWERS’ SIBLING RIVALRY
Gator junior Zack Powers has an older sister, Stephanie, who was the starting goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team at FGCU. She graduated as the program’s all-time leader in saves (261), save percentage (.835), goals against average (0.71), wins (42) and shutouts (31).