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Saturday March 8, 2014Florida Baseball Works Extra Innings To Down UConn Again, 2-1

Gainesville, Fla.

Junior Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) was hit by pitch with the bases loaded and none out in the 10th inning to bring home freshman Buddy Reed (Finksburg, Md.) with the winning run as Florida (9-6) defeated UConn (4-7), 2-1, on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. The Gators had blanked the Huskies, 1-0, in 11 innings on Friday night.

 

Reed (2-for-4, two runs) led off with a single up the middle against UConn redshirt sophomore Max Slade (0-1) and moved into scoring position with his first career stolen base. After sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (2-for-5) beat out a bunt single for runners on the corners, junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was walked intentionally to fill the bags. Redshirt junior David Mahoney entered the game and plunked Powers with his first pitch to end the contest. Junior lefty Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (2-2) retired all three batters he faced to earn the victory, while seven Gator pitchers combined for a season-high 16 strikeouts.

 

Sophomore Vinny Siena (2-for-4) had opened the scoring for the Huskies with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning down the left-field line. Freshman Ryan Sullivan had led off with a single off of freshman A.J. Puk (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and was sacrificed into scoring position on a bunt by freshman Aaron Hill. After an infield base-hit by sophomore Jack Sundberg, a fielder’s choice by junior Eric Yavarone erased Sunberg at second base but left the Huskies with runners on the corners and two down. Sophomore Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) relieved Puk (4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, career-high 7 K) and surrendered a single to Siena that broke the ice.

 

The Gators answered in the home part of the frame on a game-tying double by Martin. Reed had roped a double down the right-field line for his first career extra-base hit and scored on Martin’s team-leading fifth double. Martin swiped third base and Turgeon drew a walk before a fielder’s choice by freshman Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) cut down Martin at the plate. Senior Anthony Marzi (7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R) induced an inning-ending grounder by junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) to keep the contest tied.

 

UConn puts its first two runners aboard in the eighth, as sophomore Max McDowell started the frame with an infield single and sophomore Bobby Melley’s sacrifice attempt was misplayed for an error by freshman left-hander Kirby Snead (Alachua, Fla.). Junior Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) had sophomore pinch hitter Nico Darras pop up a bunt and caught Hill looking on strikes before sophomore Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) struck out Sundberg.

 

Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan:

On today’s game and back-to-back victories in extra innings:

“It’s one of those weekends where we’ve gone to extras two days in a row. The guys rallied there in the 10th (inning), obviously. Pitching was really good and I thought A.J. Puk threw the ball really well. There were a couple of (tough) situations, but for the most part, I thought he showed progress from the last start to this one.”

 

“We used seven guys total; they all did their job and we kept their pitch count down. I’m really, really pleased with how they threw and competed. There were a lot of big pitches that needed to be made again tonight. We played some good defense. The pitching and defense have been the story this weekend.”

 

“Offensively, we still have got to get things going. I thought Richie (Martin) swung the bat well, (he) hit a double into left center and kind of jump-started us when we tied the game in the fifth (inning). (Casey) Turgeon continues to see the ball well. We just need to get some contributions from other guys in the lineup. I was really pleased with Buddy Reed’s at-bat in the 10th (inning), against a guy that had a pretty good arm, he stuck his nose in there and put a really good swing on a ball and kind of got us started. A win is a win. We’re excited, we feel good about it, but, obviously we’ve got some work to do offensively to get our team to where we want to get it to. We’ll enjoy the win tonight and get ready to play tomorrow.”

 

Freshman left-hander A.J. Puk

On his pitching performance and career-high seven strikeouts:

“Coming into the game, I felt really comfortable. I had a really good pen before I came in. I was confident and excited to get out there today. The bullpen came in after me and did an outstanding job. They kept us in the game. They got us a win tonight, and it was very good all around. Each start is building on something new each time. Hopefully, the next one I’m better and I continue to throw strikes and get out of those innings where I am not throwing strikes.”

        

Saturday Notables

·         The series between Florida and Connecticut went into extra innings for the second-straight game. Florida now leads the all-time series 4-0, going 2-0 in extras.

·         Freshman LHP A.J. Puk made his second start and struck out seven batters in 4.1 innings, both career highs. Seven K matches a season-high for a Gator starting pitcher (Logan Shore vs. FGCU on Feb. 27).

·         Freshman LHP Kirby Snead, junior RHP Ryan Harris and sophomore RHP Eric Hanhold each made his eighth appearance in relief this season.

·         Going 2-for-4, freshman Buddy Reed earned his first multiple-hit game as a Gator and his first extra-base hit with a double to right field in the fifth. In the 10th, Reed stole his first base donning the Orange and Blue.

·         Sophomore shortstop Richie Martin connected with his fifth double of the season to tally his fifth RBI of his sophomore campaign to knot the score at 1-1 in the fifth frame.

·         Martin stole his team-leading fourth base by swiping third in the fifth inning.

·         With a season-high 16 strikeouts in today’s game, the UF team recorded at least one K in each inning with each pitcher recording at least one strikeout.

·         Sophomore lefty Danny Young made his team-high ninth appearance by relieving Harris in the eighth.

·         Junior Justin Shafer recorded his first sacrifice bunt of the season, advancing junior Braden Mattson to second in the bottom of the ninth.

·         Junior lefty Bobby Poyner threw in relief for the second-straight game and for the second time in 2014.

·         The Gator bullpen has tossed 9.2 innings of scoreless ball in the series.

 

Up Next

The series finale between the Gators and Huskies will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow and 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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