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Friday February 28, 2014Illinois Downs No. 23 Florida Baseball, 6-0

Gainesville, Fla.

Sophomore left-hander Kevin Duchene (1-1) twirled a three-hit shutout as Illinois (4-4) posted a 6-0 victory over No. 23 Florida (5-5) on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. Duchene registered six strikeouts, permitted three singles and issued two walks in going the distance for the Illini, who had edged FGCU, 3-2, earlier in the day.

 

Junior David Kerian (2-for-5) provided the Illini with a two-out, two-run double in the third inning that broke the ice. Junior Casey Fletcher led off with a single up the middle and a base-hit with one down by junior Will Krug (4-for-5, two runs) resulted in a pair of runners aboard. Junior southpaw Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (1-2) caught junior Michael Hurwitz looking on strikes before Kerian roped a two-bagger down the right-field line that scored his teammates.

 

The Gators loaded the bases with one down in the fourth but were kept at bay by Duchene. Sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a leadoff single into right field and junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) followed with a walk. A dropped fly ball hit by freshman Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) filled the bags and Duchene kept UF scoreless by striking out junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) and having junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) fly out.

 

Poyner retired the first two batters of the fifth before an error extended the inning. A balk moved Krug into scoring position and a walk to Hurwitz prompted a pitching change. Freshman Brett Morales (Tampa, Fla.) relieved Poyner (4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 5 K) caught Kerian looking on strikes to keep the margin at 2-0.

 

Illinois added four more runs on four hits in the sixth to finalize the 6-0 score. After freshman Ryne Roper was plunked with the bases loaded to bring home a run, sophomore Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) replaced Morales (0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R). A fielding error by freshman third baseman John Sternagel (Rockledge, Fla.) enabled sophomore Jason Goldstein to come home and Krug delivered a two-run single for the six-run cushion.

 

Postgame Quotes

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

On Kevin Duchene’s solid pitching effort:

“Really good. I mean, (he was a) Freshman All-American last year. He threw the ball really good, used both sides of the plate and had life to his fastball. We had the one situation where we were down two, we had first and second, nobody out and we had our three-four-five hitters up. You know, each of the hitters got down in the count, they took some pitches early in the count that they probably could have done something with. That’s something we’ve been talking about. Against pitchers like that, you only get so many cracks and when you get your opportunity, you have to have your best at-bats. We’ll learn from it, we’ll get better. We have to have better at-bats when those opportunities arise.”

 

On balancing being aggressive and taking good swings:

“I mean, he’s (Duchene) not going to walk anybody. You stand there and get deep in the count and then they start spinning the ball and all kinds of stuff and you know, throwing change-ups or you jump on fastballs. The bottom line is if he throws the way he does tonight, and he did that, you know in many starts last year you’re not going to score many runs. You got to get up there and swing the bat, he’s not going to walk people. It is what it is.”

 

Junior left-hander Bobby Poyner

On Illinois starting pitcher Kevin Duchene:

“Their starter did a great job. He mixed really well and competed the entire night. It’s tough so you have to scrap for runs whenever you can. I got to hand it to the kid because he did a great job.”

 

Freshman designated hitter Peter Alonso

On tonight’s loss:

“It’s the game of baseball, and it’s going to happen. There are highs and lows at each point in the season. Thankfully, it is just the beginning of the season. We have a lot of season left. We haven’t started SEC play yet, so we have a lot of time to get things rolling. I think we will be alright.”

        

Series Outcome

·         Illinois now leads the all-time series 2-1, and has a 1-1 record in Gainesville.

·         UF is 5-5 on the season, while UI improved to 4-4.

·         Tonight was the first meeting between the clubs since May 24, 1998, a 7-6 Gator victory in 11 innings that clinched a berth in the College World Series.

 

For Starters

·         Freshman John Sternagel made his second career start at third base.

 

From the Mound

·         Junior LHP Bobby Poyner matched his career-best of five strikeouts, set on Opening Night against Maryland.

·         Freshman Brett Morales threw in relief for the first time as a Gator, entering the game in the fifth and punching out Illinois’ David Kerian.

·         Sophomore lefty Danny Young made his team-leading sixth appearance on the mound.

·         Freshmen Tyler Deel and Frank Rubio each made his home debut donning the Orange and Blue in the seventh. Rubio struck out a couple of Fighting Illini for the first two K of his career.

·         Rubio worked three scoreless innings in which he yielded two hits.

 

Friday Nuggets

·         Sophomore Richie Martin extended his hitting streak to 14-straight games dating back to last season, recording the first hit for the Gators tonight.

·         Junior Casey Turgeon earned his second free pass this season from UI starter Kevin Duchene.

·         With a single through the right side in the seventh, freshman Peter Alonso is now sporting a three-game hitting streak.

·         Catcher Mike Fahrman made his junior-season debut in the eighth frame.

 

Up Next

There will be another doubleheader at McKethan Stadium tomorrow, as FGCU faces Illinois at 1 p.m., and the Gators take on the Eagles at 7 p.m. All four games for UF this weekend can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell.

 

Follow the Gators

Live stats for each game are available on GatorZone.com and fans can also receive updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball team.

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