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Friday February 28, 2014No. 23 Florida Baseball Faces Illinois Friday Night at McKethan Stadium

Gainesville, Fla.

Following a 2-1 setback to FGCU (6-3) on Thursday night, the Gators (5-4) are back on the diamond on Friday night against Illinois (2-4). UF will meet the Eagles again on Saturday night and then wrap up the weekend with a second encounter with the Fighting Illini on Sunday afternoon.

 

In a matchup of left-handers, junior Bobby Poyner (1-1, 2.89) will oppose Illini southpaw Kevin Duchene (0-1, 3.38). The game will be carried on FOX Sports Florida in Gainesville at 7 p.m. with Nick Belmonte and Mick Hubert. The contest will also be available on GatorVision through GatorZone.com.  

 

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 looks to rebound from its loss to FGCU when it faces Illinois for just the third time in school history. The Gators captured a 7-6 victory in 11 innings during the 1998 NCAA South I Regional held in Gainesville to punch its ticket to the College World Series.

·         Freshman RHP Logan Shore (0-1, 0.69) posted career highs in strikeouts (7) and innings pitched (6.0) on Thursday night but was the tough-luck loser despite yielding zero earned runs.

·         The Gator pitching staff had a season-best 10 strikeouts in its last outing, without permitting any walks.

·         UF had a season-high 4 errors that led to both FGCU runs and has a total of 9 miscues in 9 games for a .974 fielding percentage this year.

·         Sophomore shortstop Richie Martin (.351, 10 runs) has hit safely in all 9 games this season and is on a career-high 13-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 .417 overall, with an 8-game hitting streak in which he is 10-for-23 (.435) with 7 RBI and 6 runs. All three of his hits at Miami were doubles.

·         Junior catcher Taylor Gushue went 1-for-4 on Thursday to boost his hitting streak to 9 games. He is batting .371 (13-for-35) with a team-leading 9 RBI and has the Gators’ lone home run this season (2/18 versus UCF).

·         Florida’s bullpen is 4-1 with 4 saves and has registered a 2.91 ERA in 43.1 innings, while its starting rotation is 1-3 in 34.2 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.

·         Sophomore righty Eric Hanhold has appeared in Florida’s last three contests and matched his season high with 3 K over 2 scoreless and hitless innings against FGCU.

·         UF has 15 extra-bases hits this season - 12 doubles, 2 triples and 1 homer - and is 3-for-5 on stolen-base opportunities.

·         The trio of Martin (SS), freshman Buddy Reed (CF) and junior Casey Turgeon (2B) have started all 9 games at their respective positions.

·         UF started a season-high 5 freshmen and a total of 6 newcomers in last night’s lineup and a pair of freshmen pitchers, Shaun Anderson and Kirby Snead, closed the game.

·         Turgeon notched his 3rd multiple-hit game of the season, the 34th of his career, by going 2-for-4.

·         Junior Zack Powers connected with his first multiple-base hit of the season, knocking a double to right center to lead off the

 

SERIES NUGGETS

Florida and Illinois have met just twice previously, with the teams each notching one victory. The Fighting Illini claimed a neutral-site meeting during the 1959 season, 12-4, before the Gators scratched out a 7-6 triumph in 11 innings during the 1998 NCAA South I Regional held at McKethan Stadium to claim a berth at that season’s College World Series.

 

Kevin O’Sullivan has a 1-2 (.333) record against Big Ten programs after UF dropped a weekend series to Indiana between March 8-10, 2013 (1-4, 6-4, 4-7).

 

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