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Monday March 3, 2014Florida Faces Southern Miss In Pensacola On Tuesday Night

Gainesville, Fla.

Florida (6-6) will meet Southern Miss (6-6) in Pensacola as part of the Cox Diamond Invitational presented by the Pensacola Sports Association at Community Maritime Park on Tuesday night. The teams have not met since the 2009 season, when USM claimed both games in the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional to advance to Omaha for the College World Series.

 

The game will be shown on Cox Sports (Channel 259 or 1259 HD in Gainesville on Cox Communications) at 7:30 p.m. with Nick Belmonte and Todd Kalas in the booth and Will Kennedy in the dugouts. It will also 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 dropped three of its four games during its double robin-round event held at McKethan Stadium over the weekend, splitting with FGCU (1-2, 4-0) and falling twice to Illinois (0-6, 1-5).

·         This will mark the first of three neutral-site games for the Gators, as they will face Florida State in Jacksonville (3/25) and FGCU in Fort Myers (4/15).

·         UF’s offense was led by freshman 1B/3B/DH Peter Alonso, who was 7-for-16 (.438), and sophomore shortstop Richie Martin, who was 6-for-17 (.353).

·         Martin is on a career-best 16-game hitting streak dating back to last season. He has a team-leading .340 (17-for-50) batting average and paces the Orange and Blue in runs (11), doubles (4) and stolen bases (3).

·         Alonso is 12-for-37 (.324) in his rookie campaign and enters the week on a 5-game hitting streak (.429; 9-for-21).

·         Florida’s pitching staff yielded 13 runs (11 earned), with 31 strikeouts, 9 walks and a 2.75 ERA over the four games.

·         The Gators are hitting .251 on the season (14th in the SEC), with a 3.69 ERA (12th) and a .974 fielding percentage (8th).

·         UF has played nine of its 12 games at McKethan Stadium, where it is 5-4 (.556). The club’s lone road action was a 2-1 series loss at No. 17 Miami over the weekend of Feb. 21-23.

·         Sophomore RHP Eric Hanhold (1-1, 3.18) had six strikeouts and permitted one hit over 3.2 scoreless innings covering two appearances.

·         Freshman left-hander A.J. Puk (1-1, 4.70) made his first career start on Sunday versus Illinois, becoming the fourth different freshman hurler to start a game this year (RHP Brett Morales, 2; RHP Logan Shore, 2; RHP Dane Dunning, 1).

·         Florida’s bullpen is 4-1 with 5 saves and has registered a 3.30 ERA in 57.1 innings, while its starting rotation is 2-5 in 47.2 innings.

·         Redshirt junior right-hander Karsten Whitson (1-0, 4.50) and sophomore right-hander Aaron Rhodes (0-0, 1.04) combined on a three-hit shutout as the Gators blanked FGCU, 4-0, on Saturday night. It was Florida’s second shutout of the season, matching last year’s total.

·         UF has 18 extra-bases hits this season - 15 doubles, 2 triples and 1 homer - and is 5-for-8 on stolen-base opportunities.

·         The trio of Martin (SS), freshman Buddy Reed (CF) and junior Casey Turgeon (2B) have started all 12 games at their respective positions.

·         In his second career start last Thursday against FGCU, Shore (0-1, 0.69) posted Gator season-highs in strikeouts (7) and innings pitched (6.0) but suffered the defeat, as the hosts committed a season-high four errors in a 2-1 setback.

 

SERIES NUGGETS

Florida and Southern Miss have met three times on the diamond and the Golden Eagles have captured all three encounters. USM notched a 3-1 decision in Mobile, Ala., on April 18, 1990, then swept the 2009 NCAA Gainesville Super Regional at McKethan Stadium on June 6-7 of that season by scores of 9-7 and 7-6 to punch a ticket to the College World Series. Kevin O’Sullivan has a 0-2 (.000) record against the Golden Eagles.

 

LAST MEETING BETWEEN GATORS & EAGLES

No. 17 Southern Miss overcame a 6-4 deficit with three runs in the eighth inning to defeat No. 9 Florida, 7-6, in game two of the NCAA

Gainesville Super Regional on June 7, 2009, at McKethan Stadium. With their second-straight win over the Gators, the Golden Eagles

punched a ticket to their first-ever NCAA College World Series.

 

YOUNG DRAWS THE STARTING ASSIGNMENT

Sophomore Danny Young will be making his first start of the season after a team-high seven relief appearances. Over 8.0 innings this year, the southpaw is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA, with seven strikeouts and one walk. As a rookie, Young was 3-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 22 appearances, including seven starts, with 23 K and 13 BB in 40 IP. In his starts last season, the left-hander was 2-3 with a 4.33 ERA and the Gators were 4-3 in those contests.

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