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The SEC-leading Gators head to Alabama for another key league series.

Thursday May 1, 2014No. 12 Florida Baseball Travels To No. 20 Alabama For Crucial Series

Gainesville, Fla.

The SEC-leading Gators head to Alabama for another key league series.

Riding an eight-game winning streak in league play, No. 12 Florida (30-15) visits No. 20 Alabama (30-15) this weekend. At 15-6 in SEC play, UF leads the Crimson Tide and No. 16 Ole Miss by two games apiece and has a three-game advantage in the East over No. 7 South Carolina. Game times this weekend at Sewell-Thomas Stadium are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday (Eastern times).

 

The entire series can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell. Friday’s series opener will be carried on CSS/Cox Sports (Cox Communications Channels 259/1259 HD in Gainesville) with Rusty Ensor and Matt Stewart and streamed on ESPN3. Saturday’s game will be on the CBS Sports Network (Channels 269/1269 HD) with Paul Byrd and Brad Johansen at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s finale at 3 p.m. will be available on ESPN3. Live stats for each 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

                                No. 12 Florida (30-15/15-6 SEC)                     No. 20 Alabama (30-15/13-8 SEC)

Friday:                    Logan Shore, Fr., RHP (5-2, 1.76)                    Spencer Turnbull, Jr., RHP (5-3, 2.45)

Saturday:               Aaron Rhodes, So., RHP (5-2, 2.08)                Justin Kamplain, Jr., LHP (4-2, 3.32)

Sunday:                 Karsten Whitson, RJr., RHP (1-0, 3.46)           Jon Keller, Jr., LHP (5-1, 1.91)

 

QUICK HITS ABOUT THE GATORS

·         After 6-2 (.750) homestand, UF will play two of its final three SEC series on the road, visiting Alabama (May 2-4) and Tennessee (May 15-17).

·         Florida will be playing its eighth of the 10 league series. The Gators are 11-1 (.917) at home and 4-5 (.444) on the road in SEC play.

·         Using Baseball America’s poll, the Gators’ next seven games will be against ranked foes: No. 12 Alabama (3), No. 24 Mercer (1) and No. 20 Vanderbilt (3).

·         After a pair of midweek losses, the Orange and Blue notched its second-straight SEC sweep by handling Missouri at McKethan Stadium (7-1, 5-0, 6-5 (10).

·         Florida’s eight-game SEC winning streak is the program’s longest since April 17-May 7, 2004. The school record of 11 SEC wins in a row was set from April 6-May 17, 1968.

·         UF has already surpassed last season’s win totals overall and in SEC action, as the squad was 29-30 and 14-16 in conference play in 2013.

·         Florida enters the Alabama series with a 10-5 (.667) record against ranked teams, including an 8-1 (.889) mark against top-five teams.

·         The Gators went 5-3 (.625) on their previous season-long eight-game road trip from April 4-15, 3-3 against SEC opponents (UK & USC).

·         UF is 12-6 (.667) in one-run games this season, tied for the most victories in the country with Wake Forest, who is 12-7 (.623) as of April 29.

·         The Orange and Blue is 6-2 (.750) in extra-inning contests, equaling Hartford (6-3, .667) for the highest total in the nation as of April 29.

·         The Gator pitching staff compiled a 1.61 ERA over the three games against Missouri, with 15 strikeouts over 28 innings

·         Junior Taylor Gushue was the top performer last weekend, going 5-for-12 (.417). He continues to lead the Gators in the “Triple Crown” categories with a .335 batting average, 36 RBI and four homers.

·         Later named as one of Louisville Slugger’s National Players of the Week and as the SEC Pitcher of the Week, sophomore RHP Aaron Rhodes (5-2, 2.08) threw a one-hit shutout as the Gators clinched the series by blanking Missouri, 5-0. Freshman RHP Logan Shore (5-2, 1.76) carried a shutout into the eighth inning in the series-opening win. He is tied for the league lead with five conference wins.

·         Rhodes surrendered only a second-inning double to MU senior Dillon Everett and retired the final 18 Tiger hitters in going the distance.

·         In the three-game series, freshman Peter Alonso (.281, 21 RBI) was 3-for-8 (.375), highlighted by five RBI in the series opener, and junior Zack Powers (.288, 9 RBI) went 4-for-11 (.364) with four runs.

·         Junior left-hander Bobby Poyner (4-3, 3.48) worked four scoreless innings, scattering two hits, to collect the victory in game three. Poyner has not allowed an earned run in his last 8.2 innings of relief.

 

SERIES NUGGETS

Kevin O’Sullivan is 10-4 (.714) against Alabama, 6-0 (1.000) in Gainesville, 3-3 (.500) in Tuscaloosa and 1-1 (.500) at the SEC Tournament. The Gators and Tide will be meeting in a regular-season series for the first time since the 2011 campaign, when Florida swept three games in Gainesville. UF will be making its first trip to Tuscaloosa since taking two of the three encounters in 2010.

 

LAST MEETING BETWEEN THE GATORS & CRIMSON TIDE

Right-hander Hudson Randall tossed eight scoreless innings, Daniel Pigott was 4-for-4 and scored three runs and Bryson Smith was 4-for-5 and tallied three RBI to lead the third-seeded Gators past seventh-seeded Alabama, 6-0, in the first winner’s bracket game of the SEC Tournament on May 26, 2011. Florida went on to claim the event for the first time since 1991 with a 5-0 shutout of Vanderbilt.

 

 

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