Gator Baseball Falls to Florida A&M
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Junior Jeremy Barlow (3-for-4) snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Florida A&M (18-21) held off No. 12 Florida (27-15), 4-3, on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. The Gators closed to within a run in the eighth on a solo homer by sophomore Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (3-for-4, two RBI) but sophomore Kendal Weeks recorded the final seven outs to register his first save.
The Gators grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning, when sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) came in from third base as Bader stole second with two down and the throw from sophomore pitcher William Carrasco went into the outfield.
Junior Ryan Kennedy gave Florida A&M a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers off of junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.). Senior Bennie Robinson had drawn a leadoff walk, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Marlon Gibbs and scored on Kennedy’s team-leading seventh round-tripper of the season.
Bader tied the game with an RBI single in the sixth inning. Junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was hit by pitch from junior Brandon Fleming (3-3) to open the frame and went to third on Martin’s grounder. Bader’s second hit of the contest into left center knotted the game at 2-2.
Barlow moved the Rattlers back in front, 4-2, with a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Sophomore Michael Birdsong was hit by a pitch from freshman Shaun Anderson (Coral Springs, Fla.) (0-1) to begin the stanza and junior Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen. Redshirt junior pinch runner Jared Walker moved into scoring position with a stolen base and was sacrificed to third on a bunt by junior Ryan Hutson. Soon after, Barlow sent a pitch to left field for his third homer of the season.
Freshmen Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) and Buddy Reed (Finksburg, Md.) had consecutive one-out singles in the home part of the inning and sophomore Cameron Sims came in for sophomore John Marcus Roberts. The reliever had freshman John Sternagel (Rockledge, Fla.) fly out to center field and hit Turgeon to load the bases with two down. Weeks moved from second base to the mound and retired Martin on a fly ball to right field.
Bader brought the Gators within 4-3 by homering to left field to start UF’s eighth, his third dinger of the year. After junior Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) laced a triple into center field with two out, Weeks had Alonso fly out to right field to keep the Rattlers ahead.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan:
On tonight’s game:
“Congratulate Coach Shouppe, his staff and his players. They played well tonight. They threw strikes, changed speed and had some different looks, different angles that frustrated us a little bit I think. They made one error and didn’t give us much. They deserved to win.”
· Florida A&M collected its first-ever victory over Florida in the teams’ 19th meeting on the diamond.
· Richie Martin improved to 12-of-14 on the basepaths with a first-inning theft, while Harrison Bader is now 5-for-8.
· LHP A.J. Puk made his fourth start of the season, first since March 16 against Arkansas. He retired all six batters he faced.
· Justin Shafer’s four strikeouts matched a season high set against Maryland on Feb. 16. Over 2.1 innings, the righty gave up three hits and two runs.
· RHP Shaun Anderson (0-1) allowed one run and zero hits over 1.2 innings and had one strikeout and one HBP.
· RHP Ryan Harris (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R), LHP Kirby Snead (1.0 IP, 1 H, 3 K) and RHP Dane Dunning (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K) and LHP Bobby Poyner (0.2 IP, 1 K) also pitched for Florida.
· Gator pitchers totaled 11 strikeouts tonight and issued two walks.
The Gators begin a weekend series with SEC East rival Missouri (19-21/6-12 SEC) on Friday at 7 p.m. The entire series can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert.
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