Photos by Casey Brooke Lawson
The Gator baseball team held its Orange and Blue World Series with a pair of games on Nov. 8 and 9 at McKethan Stadium. With roster restrictions, as well as a non-traditional game format, each player had more at-bats and gave the coaches the opportunity to evaluate players in several different positions and scenarios.
Senior Patrick Keating started things off on the mound Saturday. The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings, giving up only one hit, and notched two strikeouts. Junior Billy Bullock hurled two scoreless and hitless innings, with two K.
After three scoreless frames, the Gator offense got going. Junior outfielder Matt Den Dekker (2-for-5, RBI, two walks, two stolen bases) led off the fourth inning with a single. He advanced to second with his first stolen base, then to third as junior Clayton Pisani reached base on an error. With runners at the corners, junior catcher Buddy Munroe ripped a two-run double into center field that brought across both of his teammates.
Despite surrendering the two fourth-inning runs, freshman right handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani pitched very well. He went three innings, giving up three hits, and totaled two strikeouts. His pitching counterpart, classmate Greg Larson, also turned in a great performance. The rookie righty went three scoreless innings, with three hits and a couple of punchouts.
It was not until the top of the ninth that the Gator offense could put another run on the board. This run came courtesy of freshman Preston Tucker, who sent a rocket over the fence in right field for his first homer of the fall. Tucker’s home run was the only blemish on the day for junior Tony Davis, who pitched a strong two innings by allowing two hits and registering two strikeouts.
Newcomer Jeff Barfield, who pitched at Lake City Community College last spring, was the last hurler to take the mound Saturday for the Gators. He held hitters scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, when freshman catcher Ben McMahan doubled down the left-field line. Den Dekker drove in McMahan with a triple to deep center field. This would be the final play of the game due to pitch count limitations. Barfield finished the day by logging three innings, which featured four hits and a strikeout.
The player of the day on Saturday was senior outfielder Avery Barnes. Barnes frustrated pitchers all day as he went 4-for-7 with two stolen bases. On the afternoon, the Gators put four runs on the board on a total of 13 hits.
In Sunday’s game, den Dekker blasted a pair of home runs and sophomore Josh Adams chipped in with four hits as the Gators completed fall practice with the finale of the Orange and Blue World Series. Florida will begin its second campaign under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan against Louisville on Feb. 20, 2009.
Junior Hampton Tignor led off the game by being hit by a pitch from redshirt freshman right-hander Justin Poovey and Munroe followed with a walk. Freshman Daniel Pigott advanced his teammates into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Tignor came across on a wild pitch. Soon after, den Dekker cranked a two-run shot over the right-field fence above the Gator head.
Senior Stephen Locke worked three scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk. Despite yielding back-to-back base-knocks to den Dekker and Adams in the fourth, the southpaw induced a flyout to center field by Tucker and a fielder’s choice by Pisani that left runners on the corners. With two down, Locke had junior Jandy Rosabal pop out to left to keep the clean slate.
Junior Jonathan Pigott belted a solo homer into the bleachers overlooking left field off freshman Nick Maronde (3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 K) to begin the home part of the fifth and den Dekker launched another four-bagger with two down the following inning off the left-hander.
With freshman Will Jolin on the hill in the eighth, Adams singled up the middle and stole second base with one down. Pisani later delivered a two-out double to bring across his teammate with the final run of the afternoon. Jolin faced a total of 16 batters and surrendered just a pair of hits.
Junior RHP Kyle Mullaney notched four strikeouts in three innings, while freshman LHP Alex Panteliodis yielded only one hit and tallied three K over three innings. Adams finished the day 4-for-7, den Dekker was 3-for-7 with three RBI and Barnes capped a solid weekend with a 2-for-4 outing. The All-SEC performer was 6-for-11 (.545) in the Orange and Blue World Series.
Photos by Casey Brooke Lawson