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The Gators honored their three seniors: Keenan Kish, Zack Powers and Karsten Whitson before today's game.

Saturday May 10, 2014No. 10 Vanderbilt Takes Rubber Game of Series At No. 8 Florida on Senior Day

Gainesville, Fla.

The Gators honored their three seniors: Keenan Kish, Zack Powers and Karsten Whitson before today's game.

Vanderbilt used an eight-run first inning on its way to a 16-2 victory over Florida on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.

 

After dropping Thursday’s opener, 1-0, the No. 10 Commodores (38-14/16-11 SEC) defeated the No. 8 Gators (34-18/19-8 SEC) on Friday, 3-0, and claimed today’s rubber match to win the series. Vanderbilt enters the final weekend of the regular-season three games behind Florida in the Eastern Division standings. The Gators will finish at Tennessee, while the Commodores host No. 11 South Carolina.

 

Sophomore right-hander Tyler Ferguson (7-3) fired five scoreless innings, allowing two hits, to earn the decision. He was supported by an offense that totaled 14 hits and drew 10 walks.

 

Vanderbilt came out of the gates with eight runs in the opening frame. After sophomore Dansby Swanson (2-for-4, four RBI, three runs), sophomore Xavier Turner (two RBI) and freshman Bryan Reynolds (2-for-5, three RBI) walked, redshirt sophomore Zander Wiel delivered a two-run single up the middle. Junior John Norwood sacrificed Wiel and Reynolds into scoring position and junior Vince Conde (2-for-6, three RBI, two runs) cleared the bases with a three-run homer. Freshman A.J. Puk relieved redshirt junior starter Karsten Whitson (1-1, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 5 R) and struck out sophomore Rhett Wiseman (2-for-4, two runs), but a throwing error enabled Wiseman to reach third base. Freshman Jason Delay drew a one-out walk and Swanson expanded Vanderbilt’s lead with a three-run shot to left field.

 

The Commodores added two more runs in the third on a sacrifice fly by Turner and an RBI single by Reynolds for a 10-run advantage. Vanderbilt tacked on four runs in the sixth inning on a pair of bases-loaded walks to freshman Ro Coleman (2-for-3, two RBI) and Turner, and a two-run single by Reynolds. Coleman and Swanson delivered an RBI singles in the seventh for the visitors.

 

Sophomore Richie Martin connected on his first career homer in the eighth into the left-field bleachers to put the Gators on the board and freshman Buddy Reed (3-for-4) had an RBI single to drive in freshman Peter Alonso in the ninth inning.

 

Postgame Quotes

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

On today’s loss to Vanderbilt:

“My message to the team is that we’re in first place in the league with three games to go. Everyone in the locker room would have taken that before the season started. Obviously, this is a very disappointing day. It was a disappointing weekend, but Vanderbilt played well. That’s what happens when you play against good teams.”

 

On 10 walks and Florida’s pitching today:

“It was very uncharacteristic of us. We usually don’t do that. I think this game is contagious, sometimes good but sometimes bad. You start walking some guys and you get behind. It kind of spiraled out of control. I didn’t see it coming, but it did. We didn’t get a great start, and we didn’t pitch particularly well after that.”

 

On preparing for the end of the season:

“I don’t want to overreact here. We played poorly but Vanderbilt played well, and good teams end up taking advantage of your mistakes. We’ve had a heck of a season up to this point. 48 hours ago, we were talking about us winning 12 SEC games in a row and setting a school record. It’s 48 hours later, and I don’t want the guys acting like the season is coming to an end. It’s disappointing, but in the big scheme of things we’ve got to learn from our mistakes, and we’ve got to move on and get ready to play (USF) on Tuesday.”

 

Sophomore shortstop Richie Martin

On today’s game:

“You think about it for a day, and then have to flush it and get ready for USF and Tennessee. We have to sit around and wait to see what the other teams in the SEC do, but we have to flush it after today and get ready for next weekend. We were all ready to play. It just didn’t go our way.”

 

Freshman outfielder Buddy Reed

On today’s game:

We don’t give up and we always have fight. Regardless the score, we are going to compete until the end. It’s always hard. You never like to be down. You want to compete as hard as you can and it’s tough when things get out of hand early. From there, we have to battle and do the best we can. We try to stay positive and keep the dugout up. We have a bunch of good hitters on our team, but it was just one of those days.”

 

Game Notes

·         Keenan Kish, Zack Powers and Karsten Whitson were recognized in Senior Day pregame ceremonies this afternoon, along with student managers David Bergmaier and Kyle Polansky and student video assistant Brett Hill.

·         The Gators had been a perfect 4-0 in their SEC series at McKethan Stadium and notched a 12-3 league mark at home.

·         Whitson made his 12th appearance and eighth start of the season this afternoon.

·         A.J. Puk (1.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 2 ER) was the second Florida pitcher used and he was followed by Justin Shafer (3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R), Ryan Harris (1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R), Eric Hanhold (1.1 IP, 1 H) and Brett Morales (1.0 IP, 1 H).

·         Buddy Reed (3-for-4) matched his career high with three hits. He now has six multi-hit games on the year.

·         Harrison Bader (2-for-3, 1 BB) recorded his 10th multi-hit game of the season.

 

Up Next

The Gators will host USF (25-24/10-12 American) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in their final regular-season home game. It will air on Sun Sports with Nick Belmonte and Mick Hubert.

 

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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