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Junior Braden Mattson snapped a 3-3 tie with an RBI single in the 11th inning as the Gators claimed the series opener.

Saturday March 22, 2014Florida Baseball Takes Series Opener At Texas A&M, 5-3, In 11 Innings

College Station, Texas

Junior Braden Mattson snapped a 3-3 tie with an RBI single in the 11th inning as the Gators claimed the series opener.

Florida (15-7/3-1 SEC) plated a pair of runs in the 11th inning to defeat Texas A&M (15-8/1-3 SEC), 5-3, in game one of the teams’ weekend series on Friday night at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. Junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) (1-for-4, two RBI) delivered the go-ahead single with the bases loaded and junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) added insurance with a squeeze bunt single as the Gators improved to 4-0 in extra innings this season.

 

Led by a 3-for-4 performance from junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.), the Gators totaled a season-high 16 hits. Junior right-hander Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) turned in a career-long four-inning stint out of the bullpen in which he yielded one hit and zero runs, freshman A.J. Puk (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) (2-2) picked up the win and sophomore Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) retired the side and had a couple of strikeouts to finish the game and earn his third save.

 

With the score deadlocked at 3-3 in the 11th, junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (2-for-6, two runs) led off with a base-hit up the middle off of senior Jason Jester (2-1). Sophomore Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) laid down a bunt to advance Turgeon but a throwing error left the Gators with two runners aboard instead. After Gushue sacrificed his teammates into scoring position, freshman Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-5) was walked intentionally to fill the sacks. Mattson stepped to the plate and roped a 2-2 pitch into right field that brought across Turgeon and Shafer followed with a squeeze bunt single for the two-run advantage. All nine UF starters had at least one hit and six different players chipped in with multiple-hit outings.

 

The Gators opened the scoring with two runs on three hits in the first inning against junior right-hander Daniel Mendgen. After Turgeon singled through the left side with one down, Bader extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a double to left field. A fielding error by sophomore Jonathon Moroney allowed Turgeon to score and Bader to take third and Gushue followed with an RBI single into left center to bring in Bader.

 

Texas A&M cut the deficit in half in the second on an RBI double by Moroney (2-for-4, two RBI). Juniors Mitchell Nau (2-for-6) and Blake Allemand started the frame with consecutive singles against freshman Logan Shore (Coon Rapids, Minn.) and Moroney sliced a two-bagger down the left-field line. Although the Aggies had two runners in scoring position with none out, Shore retired the next three hitters.

 

Florida used a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Mattson to grab a 3-1 advantage in the third. Bader led off with a base-hit, Gushue was plunked and Alonso had singled to fill the bags for UF.

 

Moroney brought the Aggies within 3-2 in the bottom of the frame with a single with the sacks full before Shore kept the Gators in front with an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

 

UF had a golden opportunity in the sixth, as it loaded the bases with none out on singles by junior Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) (2-for-6), freshman Buddy Reed (Finksburg, Md.) (2-for-5) and sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.). However, Mengden escaped harm’s way with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to keep the hosts down by one run.

 

Senior Jace Statum began the home part of the sixth with a single into left, ending the night for Shore (5.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER). Senior pinch hitter Krey Bratsen greeted freshman reliever Kirby Snead (Alachua, Fla.) with a sacrifice bunt that moved Status to second and junior Patrick McLendon’s (2-for-6) grounder advanced his teammate to third. Junior Cole Lankford tied the game with an RBI single and another hit by senior Troy Stein brought Harris in for Snead. The right-hander fanned Nau to preserve the stalemate.

 

Postgame Quotes

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

On tonight’s victory:

“I am very proud with how we competed tonight, it was exciting. We had 16 hits on a Friday night, that’s pretty good stuff. We told the guys before the game to relax and have fun. We are starting to play better and I want them to show it.”

 

On the Gators’ pitching performance:

“I thought Logan (Shore) pitching on a Friday night and having to make stressful pitches did very well. That’s something to build on for next week. Without Ryan (Harris) tonight, we probably don’t win. He did extremely well in going a career-high four innings. It all starts on the mound and we made a lot of quality pitches with people on base when we had to.”

 

Postgame Notes

·         The Gators halted a five-game losing streak to the Aggies and picked up their second win in the series’ ninth meeting.

·         The teams combined for 28 hits (16 by Florida, 12 by Texas A&M) and 30 runners left on base (15 apiece).

·         Florida is 4-0 in extra innings in 2013, while Texas A&M is 1-1.

·         UF boosted its record to 4-2 in two-run games this year.

·         The Orange and Blue has emerged victorious in nine of its last 10 contests.

·         Sophomore Harrison Bader raised his hitting streak to 12 games, while Braden Mattson has a seven-game skein.

·         Freshman LHP A.J. Puk retired the lone batter he faced and notched his second win of the campaign.

·         Sophomore RHP Aaron Rhodes collected his third save and the Gators’ 10th on the season – UF had 12 saves, all by Johnny Magliozzi, last season.

 

Up Next

The Gators and Aggies will play the second game of their series tomorrow at 3:05 p.m. ET. The series be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be streamed on GatorVision through GatorZone.com with Texas A&M’s announce team.

 

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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