overflow crowd of 4,488 fans at McKethan Stadium on
Friday night, the No. 1 Gator baseball team raised the curtain on its 2006
campaign with a 10-0 shutout of Cincinnati
(0-1). Senior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.)
worked five scoreless innings to pick up the win, while junior All-American
Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.)
was 3-for-5 with three RBI and sophomore Brandon
McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) belted a solo home run and scored
very excited to start the season in front of such a lively crowd,” said head
coach Pat McMahon. “It was great for
our team to have this type of support from the Gator fans and I am pleased they
went home happy. Having a variety of players in different roles for us
contribute in the first game is a positive step.”
Bearcats threatened in the top of the first by putting runners on the corners
with two down but came away empty-handed against Ball. The right-hander struck
out senior LaFringe Hayes to begin the game and freshman
Josh Harrison followed with an infield single and took second on a throwing
error. Ball retired senior Mark Muscenti on a fly out
to center before a base-hit to left from senior Logan Parker gave the Bearcats
two men aboard. The hurler induced a ground ball from senior Jon DeLuca that Davis scooped up and threw over to McArthur
to keep UC off the board.
The Gators sent
10 batters to the plate against freshman Steve Blevins and opened the scoring
with four hits and four runs in the second inning. Junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater,
Fla.) started the frame with
a double into left and moved to third on a fielding error by the shortstop. A
grounder to first base by McArthur allowed Leclerc to
come across with the initial run. Sophomore Matt Gaski (Greensboro,
N.C.) drew a walk, stole second and
advanced to third on an infield hit by junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee,
Fla.). Senior Chris Woods (Gainesville,
Fla.) drew a free pass to fill the sacks
before senior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.)
popped out in foul territory for the second out. A two-run single by Davis increased UF’s lead to 3-0
and junior Matt LaPorta
(Port Charlotte, Fla.) sliced an RBI single to bring home
the fourth run. Junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington,
Fla.) was hit by a pitch to
load the bases and Leclerc flew out to deep center to
end the stanza.
Florida kept its offense going in the third
inning, as McArthur led off with a single and Gaski
earned a free pass. With one down, Woods’ liner eluded a diving effort by
junior left fielder Brian Szarmach for an RBI single.
A two-out double by Davis
plated Gaski and left Woods perched on third base.
The Bearcats elected to walk LaPorta to fill the
sacks and the move paid off when Blevins caught Jeroloman
looking on strikes to hold the margin at 6-0.
launched his third career home run into the left-field bleachers with one down
in the fourth for a 7-0 Gator advantage. Gaski stroked
a one-out single and Dickey was plunked by a pitch from Blevins before Woods
smacked a double into the left-field corner. Although Gaski
scored with ease, Dickey was erased at the plate on a relay from Szarmach to freshman shortstop Adam Yeager to junior
catcher Nick Maragas.
Sophomore Michael Branham (Tampa,
Fla.) relieved Ball (5.0 IP, five hits,
three strikeouts) in the sixth and walked a couple of batters before being
replaced by classmate Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.).
The righty induced a 4-6-3 double play and permitted
a walk to Szarmach. Soon after, Leclerc
ended the frame with a diving stab of a liner by senior Jack Nelson.
UF tacked on
another run in the seventh on a two-out RBI single by Leclerc
that plated Barton. With two down in the eighth, freshman Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.)
singled in his first career at bat to bring home Dickey with Orange and Blue’s
Florida out-hit Cincinnati,
15-5, but stranded 15 runners on base. Six different Gators recorded
multiple-hit efforts: Davis, Gaski LaPorta,
Leclerc, McArthur and Woods. Gaski
went 2-for-2 with three runs and a pair of walks. Blevins was tagged for the
loss after yielding 11 hits and eight earned runs in four innings, with junior
Nick Buscemi (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R) and sophomore Adam Calez (1 IP, 1 H) finishing up the game on the hill for UC.
Edmondson registered three K in a career-high three innings, while freshman Matt Hightower (Cartersville, Ga.)
was perfect in the ninth to close the game.
will meet in game two tomorrow at 4 p.m., with Florida
sophomore RHP Bryan Augenstein
Fla.) against Bearcat junior
LHP Kyle Rapp.
- Florida improved to 52-39-1 all-time in season openers,
including 32-19-1 at home.
- The Gators’ last shutout on
opening day came during a 14-0 win over Gardner-Webb on Feb. 7, 2004.
- UF’s last shutout was a 10-0
blanking of Michigan State in Gainesville
on March 13, 2005.
- Senior Bryan Ball improved to
14-3 at McKethan Stadium.
- The Gators turned four double
plays tonight, their most since having four against Stetson on May 18,
- Chris Woods was 2-for-12 last
season and finished 2-for-3 with two RBI in his first career start.
- Josh Edmondson worked three
hitless innings tonight after throwing 3.2 frames as a rookie.
- Pat McMahon is now 10-4 in
season debuts as a head coach.