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The Gators dropped the series to the Aggies with an 11-inning setback.

Sunday March 23, 2014Texas A&M Takes Series Over Florida Baseball, 4-3, In 11 Innings

College Station, Texas

The Gators dropped the series to the Aggies with an 11-inning setback.

Junior Cole Lankford (3-for-6) snapped a 3-3 tie with a two-out RBI single down the right-field line in the 11th inning that lifted Texas A&M (17-8/3-3 SEC) to a series-clinching 4-3 triumph over Florida (15-9/3-3 SEC) on Sunday afternoon at Blue Bell Park. After dropping Friday nightís opener in 11 innings, the Aggies posted a pair of one-run victories to secure the series.

 

Freshman Nick Banks opened Texas A&Mís 11th with a pinch-hit single into left field and was sacrificed to second by senior Jace Statum. After sophomore Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) (2-1) matched his career-best with his sixth strikeout for the second out, the righty walked senior Troy Stein. Sophomore southpaw Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) was summoned for Rhodes (career-high 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R) and surrendered the game-winning hit to Lankford on a full count after the Aggie had fouled off a couple of pitches.

 

With the Gators trailing by a run in the ninth, junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-for-3) had led off with a single into right field off of senior Jason Jester and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Ryan Larson (Orlando, Fla.). Junior Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) had a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt to move Larson over and junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) (3-for-5) singled to advance Larson to third base. Junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (2-for-5) knotted the game with a squeeze bunt single that plated Larson and sophomore Jason Lombardozzi (Chambersburg, Pa.) followed with a single to load the bases with one down. Sophomore A.J. Minter (1-0) worked out of the jam by striking out freshman Buddy Reed (Finksburg, Md.) and Mattson was caught off third base for an inning-ending double play.

 

The Aggies broke the ice against junior left-hander Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) in the first inning on a two-out RBI single by junior Mitchell Nau (2-for-4). Junior Patrick McLendon led off with a double down the left-field line and went to third on a grounder by Lankford. After Nau singled into left to score McLendon, sophomore Jonathan Moroney was hit by a pitch for two runners aboard. Junior Blake Allemand (2-for-5) had a base-hit into left field, but Nau was gunned down at the plate on a great throw by Shafer to complete the frame.

 

Junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) tied the game in the third with a two-out single that brought across junior Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.), who had drawn a leadoff walk from freshman Tyler Stubblefield and advanced to second on a bunt by Reed.

 

Texas A&M reclaimed the lead in the fourth on a double into left field by sophomore Logan Taylor (2-for-5, two RBI) that scored Allemand all the way from first base after a leadoff single. Although the Aggies had runners on the corners with none out, Poyner escaped the jam by retiring the next three hitters.

 

Shafer and Tobias started the fifth with consecutive singles and were sacrificed into scoring position by Reed. Although Martin evened the contest at 2-2 with a ground to bring home Shafer, Stubblefield left Tobias on third base with an inning-ending strikeout.

 

Taylorís second double of the day with two-down in the home part of the inning gave the Aggies a 3-2 advantage. Lankford and Nau had back-to-back singles before Poyner recorded a pair of outs. Taylor then sliced a two-bagger just inside of the right-field line to score Lankford and prompt a pitching change. Rhodes came in for Poyner (4.2 IP, 11 H, 3 R) and struck out Bratsen.

 

Stubblefield (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R) was followed to the mound by senior Parker Ray, who retired all six batters he faced with three strikeouts. After Jester (0.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R), Minter hurled 2.2 scoreless frames and gave up two hits to earn the victory.

 

Sunday Statements

         Florida fell to 4-1 in extra innings this season.

         Junior LHP Bobby Poyner made his first start in SEC play since May 17, 2013, at Georgia.

         The Gators employed the same positional lineup in all three games of the series.

         The Aggies enjoyed a 15-11 advantage in hits, despite a 3-for-4 outing by UF junior Braden Mattson.

         Sophomore Jason Lombardozzi had his first hit at Florida with a ninth-inning single.

 

Up Next

The Gators will face No. 1 Florida State (19-4/7-2 ACC) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Jacksonville. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Steve Russell and will be carried live on Sun Sports with Nick Belmonte 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.

 

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