Baseball secures series over LSU, 8-4

Junior Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) (6-5) carried a shutout into the eighth inning as Florida (27-25/14-12 SEC) clinched its first-ever series victory at Alex Box Stadium with an 8-4 defeat of LSU (28-23-1/11-14-1 SEC) on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander registered seven strikeouts, scattered eight hits and did not permit any earned runs over 7.2 innings to collect his second-straight win.

Senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) (3-for-5) extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games and matched his personal best of four RBI, featuring a three-run blast in the seventh. The Gators broke open a scoreless game with three runs in the sixth and had a four-run seventh before the Tigers clawed back with four unearned runs in the eighth. 

Augenstein and the Gators wiggled out of trouble in the second by turning an inning-ending double play. Freshman Ryan Schimpf singled to right with one down and sophomore Buzzy Haydel followed with a base-hit into left field for two runners aboard. Augenstein fanned sophomore J.T. Wise on a 3-2 pitch and freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) gunned down Schimpf trying to swipe third base to end the frame.

Augenstein retired seven straight LSU batters before plunking Schmipf to start the home part of the fifth. Haydel tried to bunt his teammate over but instead forced the runner at second base on a throw from Augenstein to freshman shortstop Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.). Augenstein had Wise tap into a 4-6-3 double play to keep the game scoreless.

Florida opened the scoring with three runs on three hits in the sixth off junior Charlie Furbush (3-8). Junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) was hit by a pitch to start things off and advanced to second on a grounder by senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.). Leclerc delivered an RBI double down the right-field line to break the ice and remained on second when classmate Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) grounded out. LSU’s decision to walk sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.) intentionally back-fired when freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) bunted for a base-hit to score Leclerc. Tignor boosted the Gators’ lead to 3-0 by depositing a flare into center field for his sixth RBI of the campaign.

UF padded its lead with four runs in the seventh stanza to build a 7-0 advantage, highlighted by a monstrous three-run blast over the right-field wall by Leclerc. Figueroa began the frame with his ninth two-bagger and scored on a double by Townsend. After LaPorta was walked intentionally for the third time in the game, Leclerc connected on his third round-tripper of the season and ended the afternoon for Furbush (6.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R).

The Tigers tallied four unearned runs on five hits in the eighth to close to within 7-4. Augenstein made Haydel his seventh strikeout victim to begin the inning but junior Steven Broschofsky reached on a fielding error by Townsend. A pinch-hit single from junior Jason Lewis was followed by a run-scoring single from freshman Jared Mitchell and an RBI grounder by sophomore Nicholas Pontiff for a 7-2 score. A double to left by freshman Blake Dean narrowed the Tigers’ deficit to four runs and prompted a pitching change. Senior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) replaced Augenstein (7.2 IP, 8 H, 0 ER) and yielded an RBI single into center field by junior Michael Hollander and a base-hit to freshman Sean Ochinko. The southpaw had junior pinch hitter Jordan Mayer fly out to right field to close the stanza.

The Gators added an insurance run in the ninth to finalize the 8-4 margin. Senior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) walked on four pitches and back-to-back singles by Neer and Pigott off reliever freshman Shane Ardoin forced another call to the bullpen. Tignor earned a free pass from freshman Paul Bertuccini to give Florida an 8-4 lead before freshman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) grounded into a 5-2-3 double play and Figueroa tapped out to second base. The Gators held a 13-10 advantage in hits, led by three apiece by Leclerc and Pigott (3-for-5).

Florida will try for the sweep tomorrow at 2 p.m. on Cox Sports in a pitching matchup between freshman RHP Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (2-5, 5.18) and sophomore left-hander Ryan Byrd (5-1, 4.34).

Courtesy UF Sports Info