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Saturday March 4, 2006No. 5 Baseball Evens Series With 4-1 Win Over Texas A&M

Gainesville, FL

Sophomore Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) fired the first complete game of his career to lift fifth-ranked Florida (9-5) to a 4-1 victory over Texas A&M (12-2) at McKethan Stadium in front of 3,781 fans on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander (4-0) limited the Aggies to three hits and registered eight strikeouts in snapping UF’s three-game losing streak. Augenstein leads the Gators with a 1.15 earned run average and has totaled 32 strikeouts in 31.1 innings. The teams will play the rubber game of the three-game set tomorrow at 1 p.m.

 

“I have great respect for Texas A&M and their veteran ball club that they have right now,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “It was a huge win for us based on this recent stretch. Bryan (Augenstein) continues to perform consistently. His mound presence keeps growing and I like the way he is competing. His pitch count was down in the seventh and although we started to get guys ready, I told (pitching coach) Ross (Jones) ‘This is his game.”

 

“When I go out on the mound, I put it into my head that no one can beat me,” said Augenstein. “I have a different intensity level this year and try to get after every pitch I throw.”

 

Junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) led off the second inning with his first homer of the season into the left-field bleachers off freshman Kyle Thebeau (1-1) to give the Gators a quick lead. The run was Florida’s first since the eighth inning against Florida State on Tuesday night after being blanked by the Aggies in the series opener, 4-0.

 

Junior Adam Davis (Ft. Myers, Fla.) walked on four pitches to start the fourth and was sacrificed into scoring position by Leclerc. After junior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) flew out to center, the Aggies elected to walk junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) intentionally. The move paid off when Thebeau jammed freshman Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.) on a pop-up to the catcher.

 

Helped by three Aggie errors, the Gators added a run in the fifth on a groundout by freshman Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.), the first RBI of his career. Senior Chris Woods (Gainesville, Fla.) beat out a single to open the frame and wound up at third due to two Texas A&M’s miscues on the play, as the third baseman threw wide of the bag and the second baseman fumbled the ball to allow Woods to reach third. Sophomore Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) grounded out to third and Barnes’ ground ball to the shortstop was booted, allowing Woods to score.

 

Augenstein retired the first 16 hitters before junior Josh Stinson smacked a solo homer to right center in the sixth to pull Texas A&M to within 2-1. It was just the third extra-base hit and first round-tripper surrendered by Augenstein this season.

 

Jeroloman led off the bottom of the seventh with a free pass and moved into scoring position on Neer’s sacrifice bunt. A grounder by Woods pushed Jeroloman over to third and Thebeau (7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB) stranded the runner when he had McArthur tap out to short to complete his outing.

 

Stinson roped a double to left with two down in the eighth off Augenstein but the right-hander kept the Gators in front by striking out junior Parker Dalton for his eighth K. Florida tacked on two more runs on two hits in the bottom of the inning for a 4-1 lead. Barnes led off with an infield hit against freshman Anthony Vasquez and was bunted over by junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.). Following an intentional walk to Davis, Leclerc was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks. Senior Hart Hering took over on the mound and was greeted by a two-run single from Pride. Junior Jason Meyer prevented further scoring when he had Jeroloman ground into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.

 

UF held a slim 4-3 advantage in hits, as four different players chipped in with one hit apiece. Stinson was 2-for-3 to pace the Aggies.

 

Game Notes

  • The homer was Brian Leclerc’s first since connecting against Texas in game two of the College World Series on June 26, 2005.
  • Freshman Avery Barnes made the first start of his collegiate career at second base.
  • Matt LaPorta missed his sixth game in a row due to a strained oblique muscle.
  • Florida improved to 6-5 this season at McKethan Stadium.

 

-UF-

 

 

 

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