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Thursday March 6, 2014Florida Baseball Hosts UConn In Final Non-Conference Weekend Series

Gainesville, Fla.

After a 4-2 victory over Southern Miss on Tuesday night in Pensacola, the Gators (7-6) begin an eight-game stretch at McKethan Stadium by welcoming UConn (4-5) to town for three games. The squads have not faced each other since Florida captured both games during the 1969 season in Gainesville by scores of 12-4 and 8-3.

 

Freshman right-hander Logan Shore (0-1, 0.69) will face Huskies redshirt junior right-hander Jordan Tabakman (0-1, 4.76) in Friday’s opener at 7 p.m. Freshman lefty A.J. Puk (1-1, 4 70) will oppose UConn senior southpaw Anthony Marzi (1-1, 2.16) in game two of the series at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and redshirt junior righty Karsten Whitson (1-0, 4.50) will meet UConn senior right-hander Brian Ward (1-2, 2.76) in Sunday’s finale at 1 p.m. 

 

**Fans can receive free general-admission seating for the Saturday game at 3 p.m. when they show their ticket stub from that afternoon’s Florida-Kentucky game at either gate.**

 

The entire series will be available through GatorZone.com and can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with the combination of Jeff Cardozo, Steve Russell and Larry Vettel. 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

·         Down 2-0 to Southern Miss, Florida scored twice in the sixth to tie and plated a pair of runs in the seventh inning to notch its third come-from-behind victory of the season.

·         Sophomore shortstop Richie Martin is on a career-best 17-game hitting streak and has reached base in 31 consecutive games dating back to last season. He has a team-leading .352 (19-for-54) average and paces the Orange and Blue in runs (12), doubles (4) and stolen bases (3).

·         Freshman Peter Alonso is 13-for-40 (.325) in his rookie campaign and enters the weekend on a 6-game hitting streak (.417; 10-for-24).

·         Junior Braden Mattson (.342, 9 RBI) went 3-for-4 with a couple of RBI singles in the win over the Golden Eagles and snapped a 2-2 tie with the go-ahead base-hit into right field with the bases loaded in the seventh stanza.

·          In his last two outings, sophomore RHP Aaron Rhodes (1-0, 0.73) has thrown 7.2 scoreless innings, with 8 strikeouts, 3 hits and 2 walks. He earned his first career save with four shutout innings against FGCU on March 1 and collected is first win with 3.2 innings of shutout ball versus Southern Miss on Tuesday.

·         Junior RHP Ryan Harris (1-0, 1.29) picked up his second save on Tuesday and is limiting opponents to a .095 (2-for-21) average this year.

·         Sophomore RHP Eric Hanhold (1-1, 3.18) has 6 strikeouts and permitted 1 hit over 3.2 scoreless innings in his last 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 5-1 with 6 saves and has registered a 3.08 ERA in 61.1 innings, while its starters are 2-5 with a 3.93 ERA in 52.2 innings.

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

·         UF has 19 extra-bases hits this season - 16 doubles, 2 triples and 1 homer - and is 5-for-9 on stolen-base opportunities.

·         After 6 innings in 2014, Florida is 4-0 when leading, 3-0 when tied and 0-6 when trailing.

·         The trio of Martin (SS), freshman Buddy Reed (CF) and junior Casey Turgeon (2B) have started all 13 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 UConn have met just twice on the diamond, way back during the 1969 season in Gainesville. Under head coach Dave Fuller, the Gators swept a two-game series from the Huskies (12-4, 8-3). Florida finished 28-16 overall that year and won the SEC Eastern Division title with a 13-4 mark. However, UF fell short in the SEC Championship Series to Ole Miss (2-8, 1-4).

 

 

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