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Freshman A.J. Puk collected the win and delivered the go-ahead RBI single for the Gators.

Saturday May 3, 2014No. 12 Florida Baseball Edges No. 20 Alabama, 4-3, To Clinch Series

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Freshman A.J. Puk collected the win and delivered the go-ahead RBI single for the Gators.

Freshman A.J. Puk delivered the game-winning RBI single and earned the victory as No. 12 Florida came from behind to defeat No. 20 Alabama, 4-3, on Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

 

With their 10th league win in a row, the Gators (32-15/17-6 SEC) secured their fourth-straight series triumph and maintained their two-game advantage over No. 16 Ole Miss in the standings. Trailing by a run in the sixth, UF tied the game on a solo shot by junior Taylor Gushue and Puk moved the visitors in front with a base-hit that scored freshman Peter Alonso.  

 

Puk (4-2) worked 2.2 scoreless innings and was followed to the mound by freshman Dane Dunning (2.2 IP, 1 H, 3 K) and freshman Kirby Snead (inning-ending strikeout in the eighth) before junior Ryan Harris tossed a perfect ninth to collect his team-leading fifth save. The Gators notched their 13th one-run victory, the most in the country, and earned their 13th win when trailing this season. The Crimson Tide fell to 30-17 overall and 13-10 in league action.

 

Florida opened the scoring in the third inning when junior Casey Turgeon (3-for-3, two walks) scored on a wild pitch from junior Justin Kamplain (4-3). Turgeon had drawn a one-out walk and moved to third base on a base-hit into right field by sophomore Richie Martin.

 

Alabama erupted for three runs on three hits in the bottom of the frame to take a 3-1 lead. Sophomore Mikey White was hit by a pitch, sophomore Georgie Salem walked and junior Ben Moore bunted to load the bases with none out. Redshirt junior Wade Wass had an RBI single into right field, a fielder’s choice by senior Austen Smith scored Salem and sophomore Kyle Overstreet (2-for-3) had an RBI single into left center to end the afternoon for sophomore Aaron Rhodes (2.1 IP, 4 H , 3 R). Puk notched a strikeout and freshman left fielder Ryan Larson gunned down Smith at the plate to complete the frame.

 

After Larson singled with one down in the fifth, Turgeon roped a double into right center to narrow the Gators’ deficit to 3-2. Kamplain induced consecutive fly-outs by Martin and sophomore Harrison Bader to keep the hosts ahead.

 

Gushue began the sixth with his team-leading fifth homer that slammed the scoreboard overlooking left center field. It was Gushue’s first dinger since April 5 at Kentucky. After Alonso walked and went to second on a wild pitch from sophomore Ray Castillo, Puk delivered an RBI single into left center to put the Gators on top, 4-3.

 

Postgame Quotes

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

On the pitching performance today:

“We have a lot of confidence in our freshmen pitchers and we let them know before the game today that they would be able to come in and have an impact. (A.J.) Puk did a really nice job through the middle innings getting us out of some jams. After a leadoff walk, (Dane) Dunning did a tremendous job of mixing all three of his pitches and kept Alabama off-balance. (Kirby) Snead did his thing to finish the eighth and Ryan (Harris) gave us a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.”

 

On the Gators’ offensive production:

“(Casey) Turgeon was once again the guy who got us going, he has had a great series so far. I was proud of the way (Taylor) Gushue forgot about his first-inning strikeout to hit the homer that tied things up in the sixth. It happened to work out that the DH spot came up when they switched pitchers so we were able to insert (A.J.) Puk into that spot and he came up with a big base-hit going the other way.”

 

On securing the series over the Crimson Tide:

“You can’t ever take a day off in this league. Even though we have won the first two games of the series, I’m going to make sure that the guys understand how important tomorrow is. (Karsten) Whitson has been great in the bullpen his last two times out so I am extremely confident that he will go out there and give us a great chance to win.”

 

Game Notes

·         Florida’s 10-game winning streak in SEC play is tied for the second-longest in school history, last done from March 25-April 17, 1994.

·         UF is 13-6 in one-run games this year.

·         The Gators have claimed their last four series (2-1 at No. 4 South Carolina, 3-0 over both Georgia and Missouri, leading 2-0 over No. 20 Alabama).

·         Casey Turgeon was 3-for-3 with two walks, an RBI double and a run scored out of the leadoff spot and is hitting .857 (6-for-7) in the series.

·         A.J. Puk boosted his season ledger to 4-2 with 2.2 innings of scoreless ball.

·         Dane Dunning saw his first action in SEC play since the second game against Georgia on April 19.

·         Aaron Rhodes made his 20th appearance of 2014 this afternoon and his fourth start.

·         Mike Fahrman started at designated hitter for his second start of the year and was 0-for-2.

·         Alabama left 11 runners on base, compared to seven for Florida.

·         The Gators did not commit any errors in the contest.

 

Up Next

The Gators and Crimson Tide will wrap up the series on Sunday at 3 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be streamed on ESPN3.

 

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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