Sunday March 9, 2014Florida Baseball Completes Sweep of UConn with Third Straight Extra-Inning Win
The Gators celebrate following Sunday's 6-5 win over Connecticut at McKethan Stadium.
Junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) delivered a squeeze bunt single to drive in junior Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) with the decisive run in the 10th inning as Florida (10-6) swept its weekend series against UConn (4-8), 6-5, on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.
In capturing their season-high fourth game in a row, the Gators emerged victorious in extra innings for the third-consecutive day over the Huskies. Junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-for-3, three RBI) had tied the contest at 5-5 with a one-out, solo homer in the ninth.
After UConn loaded the bases in the 10th against sophomore Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) with one down, junior Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (3-2) struck out sophomore Bryan Daniello and had sophomore pinch hitter Nico Darras fly out to center field.
Tobias (2-for-3, two walks) led off the Gators’ 10th with a triple to left center off of freshman Patrick Routolo (1-2). After sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (2-for-3, three walks) drew a one-out walk, redshirt junior David Mahoney entered the game. Turgeon (3-for-5) then dragged a bunt up the first-base line to bring across Tobias for his second walk-off single in the past three days.
UConn grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning against redshirt junior right-hander Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.). Sophomore Jack Sundberg started the game with a walk and went to third on a hit-and-run single by junior Eric Yavarone (2-for-5). Sophomore Vinny Siena opened the scoring with an RBI grounder to plate Sundberg and junior Blake Davey (2-for-3) delivered a single into left center field that brought in Yavarone.
The Gators answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame on an RBI double by Turgeon and a sacrifice fly by Gushue. Martin roped a leadoff single into right field off of senior Brian Ward and Turgeon delivered a double off the wall in right field to raise his hitting streak to four games. After a grounder by freshman Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) moved Turgeon to third, Gushue collected his team-leading fourth sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Gushue provided the Gators with a 3-2 advantage in the third with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. After Martin and Turgeon reached on bunt singles, Alonso filled the sacks with none out by singling up the middle. After Gushue drove in Martin with a fly ball to right field, Ward escaped further trouble by having junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) line into a double play.
A sacrifice fly by UConn freshman Ryan Sullivan (2-for-3) tied the game again in the fourth. Davey led off with a walk, went to second on a one-out error and the Huskies had two runners in scoring position courtesy of a wild pitch. Following a free pass to Daniello that loaded the bases, freshman Shaun Anderson (Coral Springs, Fla.) took over for Whitson (3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). Although Sullivan evened the score with a sac fly to center field, Anderson struck out freshman Aaron Hill to complete the frame.
Martin drew a bases-loaded walk from freshman reliever Andrew Zapata to give UF a 4-3 lead in the fourth. Freshman John Sternagel (Rockledge, Fla.) was hit by a pitch and Tobias doubled to prompt a pitching change. Zapata came in for Ward (3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R) and issued consecutive walks to freshman Buddy Reed (Finksburg, Md.) and Martin for a Gator lead but then had Turgeon hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
The Huskies plated a couple of runs in the sixth for a 5-4 edge. Sophomore Max McDowell (2-for-5) poked an RBI single to tie the game and moved to second on a balk. Sophomore Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) replaced Anderson (2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R) and yielded an RBI single into left field by Daniello that put the visitors back on top. Junior Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) surrendered a base-hit to Sullivan but then had Hill pop up a bunt for an inning-ending double play.
With the Gators down to their final two outs, Gushue cranked his second homer of the year off of freshman Anthony Kay into the parking lot near left field to tie the game in the ninth.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan
On recording the third-straight walk-off win this weekend:
“It doesn’t happen very often. Three straight games where you play extra innings, this weekend was a great team effort. There were a lot of guys who contributed; we won them (the games) in different ways, Casey (Turgeon) had the walk-off on Friday, we got hit by a pitch to win last night, and we got the bunt by Casey again today.”
“There were a lot of positives. I was really, really pleased with the progress we’ve been making at BP (batting practice). I thought today we swung the bat much better; there were a lot of hard-hit balls, the guys looked a lot more comfortable; it was a really good effort. Obviously, the big hit of the game was (Taylor) Gushue there in the ninth (game-tying homer); he kind of loosened everyone a little bit. Bobby Poyner was outstanding coming out of the bullpen; he had the bases loaded and one out and gets the strikeout left-on-left and then first-pitch, soft contact to center. A lot of guys contributed. I’m glad we have two days off here because we used a couple of guys multiple days in a row so we’ll let these guys regroup and let them rest their arms Monday and Tuesday and then get out again on Wednesday.”
On Josh Tobias’ triple in the 10th inning after struggling offensively
“He’s a junior too and before this weekend I told him and (Justin) Shafer, you guys are playing all three games. You have got to get your game going, we’re not going to go anywhere without you guys. Obviously, that triple there was huge and he swung the bat well today and we needed him.”
Junior third baseman Josh Tobias
On his triple today:
“It felt good and it was a good hit to have. I was looking for a good pitch to drive and I kept my head in it and got a good swing on it. I knew if I just kept swinging, it would eventually fall in.”
On the overall hitting performance this afternoon:
“This series really helped us out a lot. We had been losing some close games, but this series really picked up the enthusiasm and momentum in the dugout. We’ve been struggling swinging the bats but we’ve been having good batting practices over and over and we knew it was going to come around sooner or later. It did today.”
Junior second baseman Casey Turgeon
On this afternoon’s win:
“The hitters did well today and it was a big team win. We needed it. The sweep right there gives us a lot of confidence going into this week.”
On his batting performance this afternoon:
“I’m seeing the ball a lot better, putting some good swings on it and swinging at the right pitches. Every day, we come out here and try to put up as many runs as we can, but overall, today was a good day. We are going to try to build off of that and have this kind of day every day.”
Junior catcher Taylor Gushue
On sweeping the series this weekend:
“You have to credit UConn coming in here. They fought and battled all weekend but we battled back and came up with the upper hand.”
On the Gators’ four-game winning streak:
“We’re excited. We know that it’s not enough right now, but we are going to keep working hard and try to keep it going as long as we can. We are starting to break out, bats are getting hot, and pitchers are carving up other hitters on the other team. Not enough can be said about our pitching this weekend, it was absolutely unbelievable. Every key situation, they did their job.”
On Kirby Snead’s pitching this weekend:
“It’s awesome and I can’t be happier for him because he has done his job every single time he’s been out there. As a young guy relying on us older guys, it’s been awesome. He’s done his job and he is really a key piece of this puzzle going on right now.”
Junior left-hander Bobby Poyner
On the Gators’ pitching during the series:
“I thought everybody did a really good job. Harris (Ryan Harris) did a great job. Kirby Snead did unbelievable throwing three days in a row. (Eric) Hanhold had a good weekend we feel good. Logan Shore is throwing the ball well, and I feel good about our pitching staff as a whole.”
· The Gators posted their first sweep of a weekend series since taking three meetings from South Carolina April 11-13, 2013 (3-2, 4-3, 14-5).
· Florida collected its fourth come-from-behind victory of the season and second of the series.
· UF’s pitching staff registered a 1.45 ERA during the series, with 5 earned runs allowed in 31 innings.
Free Baseball For Everyone
· For the third-consecutive day, Florida and UConn went into extra innings. Friday’s game went 11 innings and both Saturday and Sunday’s were 10 innings.
· Before this weekend, Florida hadn’t played any free baseball in the season.
· UF now leads the all-time series 5-0, going 3-0 in extras.
From the Mound
· RHP Karsten Whitson started his fourth game of the season. In 3.1 innings of work (his second longest outing this year), he recorded 3 K, a season-high.
· Freshman righty Shaun Anderson made his fifth appearance on the mound.
· Sophomore southpaw Danny Young made his team-leading 10th appearance in relief in the sixth.
· RHP Ryan Harris entered the ballgame after Young and made his ninth appearance of the season and third consecutive this weekend.
· He pitched 1.2 innings today and 4.1 over the three-day series.
· Lefty Kirby Snead also made his ninth appearance of the season and third consecutive against UConn, in the seventh inning in relief of Harris.
· Relieving Snead after two outs in the seventh was freshman RHP Dane Dunning- his fifth appearance this season.
· RHP Eric Hanhold came to the mound to start the 10th inning. It was Hanhold’s third-straight appearance this weekend and ninth overall.
· Junior lefty Bobby Poyner, also making his third appearance of the weekend, came in relief of Hanhold to get the last two outs and keep the Huskies at bay in the 10th.
· The Gators’ leadoff hitter, sophomore Richie Martin, began the contest with a single to right field.
· He recorded his second hit of the contest (2-for-3, 3 walks) in his next at-bat with a bunt in the third, making it Martin’s eighth multi-hit game, a team-high.
· Martin reached base safely in five out of his six at-bats.
· Also in the first stanza, junior Casey Turgeon notched his fourth double of the season to score Martin and put the Gators on the board.
· Turgeon’s bunt in the third gave him his sixth multi-hit game of the year.
· Turgeon’s single in the 10th brought Tobias home from third for the third consecutive walk-off win of the weekend. He finished (3-for-5 with a walk).
· Junior catcher Taylor Gushue had 3 RBI after sacrifice flies to right field in the first (scoring Turgeon), and in the third (scoring Martin) and hitting one out of the ballpark in the ninth to tie the contest at five-all.
· It was Gushue’s third multi-RBI game of the year, and his second homer of the year. He now has a team-leading 13 RBI and has both HR for the Gators in 2014.
· After going 0-for-4 in yesterday’s game, freshman Peter Alonso connected on a single to center field in this second at-bat to load the bases in the third.
· Junior Josh Tobias smashed a ball to left field in the fourth inning to record his first double of the season. His hit advanced freshman John Sternagel to third.
· Tobias went on to hit a ball to left center in the 10th to record his first triple of the season and put the Gators in scoring position for the walk-off win.
· Sternagel was brought home by Martin after drew a walk with the bases loaded in the fourth to put the Gators ahead, 4-3.
· Martin tallied the sixth RBI of his sophomore campaign.
· Junior Braden Mattson had his fourth double of the year with a ball to right center in the fifth.
The Gators will welcome Illinois State (8-4) to McKethan Stadium on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Larry Vettel.
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.