University of Florida true freshman Josh Adams sent a message back to his hometown of Jacksonville tonight. The message: It’s good to be Josh Adams. He’s alive and well and helping the Gators set the Southeastern Conference on fire. The true freshman went four for five with five RBI’s and raised his batting average to .403 on the season as #18 Florida beat Jacksonville University 11-6 on a chilly Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.
Florida (18-4) pounded out 17 hits off four Dolphins hurlers. Jon Townsend and Cole Figueroa added three hits, each, while Brandon McArthur, Dustin Bamberg, Hampton Tignor added two hits on the evening. None did it more effectively than Adams though, who amassed three RBI’s or more in a game for the sixth time in 22 games. He also took over the team lead in RBI’s with 30. He also leads the squad in doubles (7), home runs (5), and slugging percentage among starters at (.714). Adams was also named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week after the opening weekend of conference play.
Just as they have all season, the Gators continued the two out assault on the scoreboard. Center fielder Matt den Dekker drew a 3-2 walk with one out and stole second with shortstop Cole Figueroa at the plate. Figueroa flew out to third base territory. Clean-up hitter Josh Adams then singled to right-center field driving in den Dekker for a Florida 1-0 lead.
In the third, Florida led off with three consecutive base hits to add to their run production. Figueroa stroked a single to left field. Adams followed by ripping the first pitch to left for a double, giving the Gators runners in scoring position. Third baseman Jon Townsend reached on an infield hit that scored Figueroa. Designated hitter Dustin Bamberg hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice that scored Adams for the Gators third run of the game.
Florida added four more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Catcher Hampton Tignor led off with a single to center field. Barnes walked on four consecutive pitches out of the zone. Den Dekker followed with a fielder’s choice to the bag at third base that nailed Tignor. Figueroa then singled to short giving the Gators a bases loaded opportunity. Adams pounded a two-run single into right field giving Florida a 5-0 lead. The freshman took over the team lead in RBI’s on the play.
Townsend followed with a run scoring single to left. Bamberg ripped yet another run scoring single as the Gators lead swelled to 7-0. First baseman Brandon McArthur then notched Florida’s fifth consecutive single with a hit to right moving Bamberg to third. However, right fielder Clayton Pisani flew out to shortstop for the final out of the frame.
Jacksonville closed the gap with five runs in the top of the fifth. Greg Johnson and Thomas Myers singled to give the Dolphins runners at first and second. Chuck Opachich reached on a fielder’s choice to give Jacksonville runners on the corners. Pinch hitter Dan Maier ripped a two-run double that was called fair down the left field baseline. Kevin Ferreira singled to center, scoring Maier. Kyle Fleming singled to second base. Brad Simmons then singled to second base, scoring Ferreira. Matt Lopez then reached on a throwing error by Townsend that scored Fleming for the Dolphins fifth run. Florida led 9-5.
Florida starter Travis Lawler pitched well through the first four scoreless innings, limiting the Dolphins to one hit, while walking one. The true freshman ran into problems in the fifth and was lifted after 4.2 innings. He finished allowing seven hits and four earned runs.
The Gators added a run in the bottom of the sixth on a solo shot by Bamberg to left field.
Tignor started the bottom half of the seventh with a single to left field and scored on Figueroa’s single to center field giving Florida an 11-5 lead. Adams just missed a two-run home run in the inning when Jacksonville center fielder Kevin Ferreira went above the fence and brought the ball back into McKethan Stadium.
Reliever Clint Franklin (3-1) gave the Gators another solid outing. Franklin pitched 2.2 innings and allowed four hits and no runs.
The game wasn’t typical Florida though. The Gators committed five errors that certainly didn’t help their cause. Tignor committed two of those errors. Lawler,
Townsend, and den Dekker committed one error apiece.
Jacksonville (13-8) added another run in the top of the ninth to close out the scoring 11-6. The two teams meet again Wednesday night In Jacksonville at 6:30pm.