Gator Baseball Drops Home Opener to Auburn
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Auburn (30-19/10-15 SEC) tallied three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings and totaled seven runs with two down to defeat Florida (27-24/12-13 SEC), 7-4, on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. Tiger junior left-hander Conner Kendrick (4-3) carried a shutout into the seventh inning before the Gators trimmed the deficit to 6-4. Junior Terrance Dedrick registered four strikeouts over 2.1 scoreless innings to pick up his seventh save of the season. Junior Ryan Tella (2-for-5) broke a scoreless tie with a three-run homer in the fourth, while junior Dan Glevenyak (3-for-5, two runs) and freshman Jordan Ebert (2-for-3, two runs) drove in two runs apiece.
“Credit Auburn’s hitters; they put some good swings together,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “They were able to score seven runs with two outs. We got some advantage counts from offensive standpoint. On our side, we just didn’t put good swings on some pitches and probably chased out of the zone a little bit. Auburn’s hitters did a really good job tonight and their starter [Conner Kendrick] kept us off balance. We had a plan coming into the game. We felt like we wanted to get his pitch count up a little bit. It was just one of those nights. We just have to come back ready for tomorrow.”
Sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) (2-for-4) led off the third inning with his fourth double of the season to the wall in left field for the Gators’ first hit of the night. After a comebacker to the mound by freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) resulted in Tobias being caught in a run-down between second and third base for the first out, senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) moved Bader into scoring position with a grounder. FreshmanRichie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) stroked a two-out single into left field but Bader was thrown out at the plate on a strong throw by senior Cullen Wacker.
Tella provided the Tigers with a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning with a two-out, three-run homer to right field. Senior Garrett Cooper (2-for-4) had opened the frame with a single up the middle and junior Jonathon Crawford(Okeechobee, Fla.) (3-6) had junior Patrick Savage hit into a 6-3 double play. Glevenyak singled and Ebert drew a walk before Tella deposited his second homer of the season over the right-field wall.
In the bottom of the stanza, sophomores Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-for-5) and Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) had consecutive one-out singles to put the Gators in business. Kendrick struck out redshirt sophomoreZack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) and had a fielder’s choice by senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) force Gushue at third base for the final out.
Junior Hunter Kelley started the fifth with a walk, ending the night for Crawford (4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 K, 3 BB). Wacker had a ground ball off of freshman Parker Danciu (Delray Beach, Fla.) that put Kelley on second and redshirt freshman Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen. A grounder by Savage gave the Tigers two runners in scoring position and Glevenyak doubled to right field to clear the bases and give the Tigers a 5-0 advantage. Ebert followed with a base-knock into center field to bring home Glevenyak with the sixth run and he was able to take second base on the relay throw to the plate.
Florida pulled to within 6-4 in the seventh on four runs, four hits and an error. Powers reached on a throwing error to begin the inning and went to third base on a one-out single into right field by Tobias. Bader put the Gators on the scoreboard with an RBI single into center field to score Powers for a 6-1 count. Freshman Brady Roberson (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) delivered a pinch-hit single to right field that loaded the bases and Martin walked to bring home Tobias and prompt a pitching change for Kendrick (6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 ER). Sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) greeted sophomore Trey Cochran-Gill with a sacrifice fly into left field that scored Bader for a 6-3 margin and Gushue came through with an RBI single to score freshman pinch runner Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) to bring the hosts within 6-4. Dedrick replaced Cochran-Gill (0.1 IP, 1 H) and struck out Shafer to complete the inning.
Junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) took over for Rhodes (2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 K, 1 BB) prior to the eighth and junior Damek Tomscha reached on a wild pitch after a strikeout with one down. Junior Blake Austin earned a free pass for two runners aboard and a wild pitch gave the Tigers runners on second and third. Kelley was walked intentionally to load the bases and the move paid off when Gibson had a fielder’s choice by Wacker force Tomscha at home and then the lefty had Cooper ground out to keep the Gators down by two runs.
Ebert homered with two down in the ninth to left field off of freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.) to finalize the 7-4 score. Auburn held an 11-8 advantage in hits.
In a meeting of left-handers tomorrow at 7 p.m., freshman Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) (3-4, 3.89) will face Auburn junior Michael O’Neal (8-3, 2.70). The game will be available on GatorVision, while Jeff Cardozo andMick Hubert will call the action for the Gator IMG Sports Network. Live audio and stats will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also follow updates on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.
· Sophomore Josh Tobias hit his third double of the year in the third inning of Friday’s game.
· With his single in the fourth inning, sophomore Justin Shafer reached base safely in his 20th-straight game.
· Freshman Richie Martin extended his current hitting streak to four games after notching a single in his second at-bat of the game.
· Sophomore Taylor Gushue also pushed his hitting streak forward to a team-leading five games after his single in the fourth inning.
· The Gators scored four runs in the seventh inning, upping their total to 33 in the seventh frame this season, third-most in any inning this season.
· With his 2-for-4 performance on Friday, Gushue raised his batting average to .429 (3-for-7) vs. Auburn pitching in his career.
· Gushue’s two hits also tied him for the team lead in multi-hit games (16) this season.
· Nine batters recorded an at-bat for UF in the seventh inning. Eight of them were starters.
· Redshirt freshman Aaron Rhodes set a new career-high with 2.2 innings pitched Friday against the Tigers.
· Rhodes also set a career-high for strikeouts (3). His previous high was two against Tennessee on April 26.
· All four of the Gators’ runs were scored in the seventh inning.
· Florida recorded no errors in the game for 25th time this season.
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