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Monday March 24, 2014Florida Baseball Challenges No. 1 Florida State on Tuesday Night In Jacksonville

Gainesville, Fla.

After falling twice at SEC Western Division rival Texas A&M over the weekend, Florida (15-9) takes on No. 1 Florida State (19-4) in the second of the clubs’ three meetings this season at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Tuesday night. The Gators and Seminoles will meet again in Tallahassee on April 8.

 

The game will be available on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Steve Russell. It will also be carried on Sun Sports with Nick Belmonte and Larry Vettel at 6 p.m. Live stats for the 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.

 

PITCHING PROBABLES

                                Florida State (19-4)                                            Florida (15-9)

Tuesday:               Peter Miller, Sr., RHP (1-1, 6.75)                      Justin Shafer, Jr., RHP (0-0, 6.75)

 

QUICK HITS ABOUT THE GATORS

·         Florida captured Friday’s opener at Texas A&M, 5-3, in 11 innings, but then dropped a pair of one-run contests, 5-4 on Saturday and 4-3 in 11 innings on Sunday.

·         Through two SEC series, the Gators are 3-3 (.500) and among the five teams tied for the top spot in the congested Eastern Division.

·         UF’s win over Florida State last Tuesday was its first over a No. 1 ranked team since April 10, 2012 (6-3 over the Seminoles in Tallahassee).

·         This will be the eighth annual clash between the squads at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville during the regular season, with FSU holding         a 5-2 (.714) advantage.

·         Junior C Taylor Gushue (.349, 18 RBI) was a sizzling .636 (7-for-11) in College Station, while junior 3B Josh Tobias (.262) was 5-for-11 (.455).

·         Gushue is tied for second on the squad with nine multiple-hit games and is also second with four multi-RBI games.

·         The Gators batted .314 (37-for-118) in the series at Texas A&M, with three double-digit hit totals, and their bullpen permitted just one run in 16 innings for a 0.56 ERA.

·         The lone Texan on Florida's roster, junior Braden Mattson (.325, 15 RBI), went 4-for-13 (.308) at TAMU and provided the go-ahead RBI single                 in the 11th inning on Friday night.

·         Junior RHP Ryan Harris (1-0, 0.55) is tied for the top spot on the club with sophomore RHP Aaron Rhodes (2-1, 1.93) with three saves and has played a role in three of the Gators’ four shutouts this season.

·         Rhodes was quite busy last week, going 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA and a save in three appearances spanning 10 innings. He posted career-highs in innings pitched (6.0) and strikeouts (6) in the finale with the Aggies but was the tough-luck loser in 11 innings.

·         On the season, Gator relievers are 11-2 with 10 saves and a 2.59 ERA in 118 innings, with 105 K and 30 BB.            

·         After six innings this year, Florida is 8-0 (1.000) when leading, 1-9 (.100) when trailing and 6-0 (1.000) when tied.

·         Fifteen of the Gators’ 24 games this season have been decided by two runs or less: UF is 6-3 (.667) in one-run affairs and 4-2 (.667) in two-run games.

·         Florida has provided the fans with free baseball five times already and boasts a 4-1 (.800) mark.

·         UF has 46 extra-bases hits this season - 34 doubles, 6 homers and 4 triples - and is 15-for-25 (.600) on stolen-base opportunities.

·         The duo of sophomore Richie Martin (SS) and Casey Turgeon (2B) has started all 24 games at their respective positions.

·         Tuesday night will mark the Gators’ second neutral-site game of the year, having defeated Southern Miss in Pensacola, 4-2, on March 4.

·         Eight different pitchers have accounted for Florida’s 15 wins, with sophomore RHP Eric Hanhold (3-2, 3.18) and junior LHP Bobby Poyner (3-2, 2.57) tied with three victories apiece.

 

SERIES NUGGETS

Florida State holds a 125-102-1 (.550) advantage in the all-time series, while the Seminoles have a 10-8 (.556) edge at neutral sites. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is 10-13 (.435) against Florida State, 6-1 (.857) in Gainesville, 3-4 (.429) in Tallahassee and 1-8 (.111) at neutral sites.

 

LAST MEETING BETWEEN GATORS & SEMINOLES

Sophomore Harrison Bader snapped a 1-1 tie with an RBI triple in the sixth inning and Poyner closed the contest with three perfect innings as Florida downed No. 1 Florida State, 3-1, last Tuesday night in front of a season-high 5,657 fans at McKethan Stadium.

 

Rhodes limited the high-powered FSU offense to one run over three innings and totaled four strikeouts to earn the win, Tobias opened the scoring with his first homer of the year in the third and Gushue added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

 

Although Florida State loaded the bases with none out in the third, sophomore starter Danny Young kept the game scoreless by retiring sophomore DJ Stewart (foul pop up), redshirt senior Brett Knief (strikeout) and junior John Nogowski (grounder). Young tossed three scoreless frames, with six hits and two strikeouts.

 

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