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Monday March 31, 2014No. 20 Florida Baseball Hosts FAU On Tuesday Before Eight-Game Road Trip

Gainesville, Fla.

After a perfect 4-0 week that included a 4-1 victory over No. 1 Florida State and a three-game weekend sweep of No. 4 LSU, the No. 20 Gators (19-9/6-3 SEC) welcome Florida Atlantic (15-12/4-8 C-USA) to McKethan Stadium for a Tuesday matchup at 7 p.m. 

 

The game will be available on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo & Steve Russell and will also be streamed exclusively on ESPN3. 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 Atlantic (15-12)                                     No. 20 Florida (19-9)

Tuesday:               Brandon Rhodes, So., LHP (2-0, 2.05)            Karsten Whitson, RJr., RHP (1-0, 5.65)

 

QUICK HITS ABOUT THE GATORS

·         Florida boasts a four-game winning streak and is back in the national rankings this week for the first time since Feb. 24 (No. 12 in Collegiate Baseball, No. 13 in Baseball America, No. 20 in USA Today Coaches’ Poll).

·         Through three SEC series, the Gators are 6-3 (.667) and tied with Alabama, Mississippi State and South Carolina atop the league standings.

·         UF has claimed 13 of its last 16 contests and boasts a 15-5 (.750) record at McKethan Stadium this year after going 20-16 (.556) in 2013.

·         The Orange and Blue is 6-2 (.750) against top-25 opponents, including a perfect 4-0 against top-5 competition this spring.

·         Redshirt junior RHP Karsten Whitson (1-0, 5.65) will make his fifth start of the season on Tuesday and first career appearance against FAU.

·         With an 11-7 victory on Sunday, the Gators posted just their fourth sweep of LSU in school history (1996, 2010, 2011, 2014).

·         Four different players chipped in multiple-RBI outings: freshman John Sternagel (3), freshman Peter Alonso (3), junior Mike Fahrman (2) and                 sophomore Richie Martin (2).

·         Florida’s pitching staff compiled a 2.33 ERA over the three games, with 12 strikeouts and four walks, including quality starts from sophomore           RHP Eric Hanhold (7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R in game one on Saturday) and freshman RHP Logan Shore (8.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R in game two on Saturday).

·         The Gator bullpen improved to 14-2 with 12 saves and a 2.39 ERA and now has 114 strikeouts in 132 innings.

·         Sternagel was the squad’s top hitter with a .333 (3-for-9) clip and established a career best with three RBI in the finale, while Martin went 3-for-11 (.273) and junior OF/RHP Justin Shafer was 3-for-6 (.500) and scored four runs.

·         Shafer belted a game-winning homer with two down in the ninth off of 2013 SEC Pitcher of the Year Aaron Nola to lift the Gators to a 2-1 triumph in the series opener.

·         Freshman LHP Kirby Snead (1-0, 1.80), who had pitched 5.1 innings all season, earned his first collegiate victory on Sunday by tossing 4.2 scoreless innings in which he permitted two singles.

·         UF blasted four homers during its series with LSU, increasing its round-tripper total to 10 this season. Junior C Taylor Gushue (.327, 22 RBI) has three.

·         The Gators are an unblemished 8-0 when they homer in a contest this year.       

·         After six innings this year, Florida is 11-0 (1.000) when leading, 1-9 (.100) when trailing and 7-0 (1.000) when tied.

·         Sixteen of the Gators’ 28 games this season have been decided by two runs or less: UF is 7-3 (.700) in one-run 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.

·         The duo of Martin (SS) and Casey Turgeon (2B) has started all 28 games at their respective positions.

·         Nine different pitchers have accounted for Florida’s 19 wins, with Hanhold, junior LHP Bobby Poyner (3-2, 2.35), sophomore RHP Aaron Rhodes (3-1, 1.88) and sophomore LHP Danny Young (3-0, 1.99) tied with three victories apiece.

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SERIES NUGGETS

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan has a 5-1 (.833) record against Florida Atlantic, 4-1 (.800) in Gainesville and 1-0 (1.000) at neutral sites. The Gators have claimed 20 of the 26 meetings with the Owls, good for a .769 winning percentage. Florida has a 16-4 (.800) advantage in Gainesville and is riding a five-game winning streak in the series since dropping a 7-6 decision on March 4, 2009.

 

LAST MEETING BETWEEN GATORS & OWLS

A six-run fifth inning and dominant pitching lifted Florida to a 7-1 victory over Florida Atlantic on May 7, 2013. Poyner limited the Owls to one run and one hit over a career-high six innings and he was followed to the mound by Young, Ryan Harris and Johnny Magliozzi, who each threw a perfect frame. The Gators retired the final 13 FAU batters in securing O’Sullivan’s 250th victory at Florida.

 

Turgeon was 2-for-5 with a two-run double, Martin was 2-for-4 and Vickash Ramjit belted his fourth homer of the year in the seventh. Harrison Bader’s then-career-long eight-game hitting streak ended with a 0-for-2, two-walk performance.

 

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