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Zunino’s single lifts Florida to series win

Written by gatorcody, April 25, 2010, 0 Comments,
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Mike Zunino didn’t hit the pitch hard, but it didn’t matter. His bloop single to right field in the ninth inning scored pinch-runner Cody Dent, giving the No. 7 Gators a 2-1 weather-delayed Southeastern Conference baseball victory over No. 4 Arkansas Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.

“Another time where Coach (Kevin O’Sullivan) helped me out and said he was going to hang me a breaking ball,” Zunino said. “I got the hanging breaking ball, but I tried to do too much with it. Luckily, I got enough on it. It was good enough to get over (the second baseman).”

Whether or not Dent was actually safe is still up for debate, and Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn made sure to do that. The throw from right fielder Matt Vinson brought catcher James McCann up the third-base line to catch it. Dent tried to go around him as McCann caught the ball and went to his left for the swipe tag. Home-plate umpire Owen Butts felt the tag missed Dent, who jumped back to home plate for a second time to make sure he was safe.

Both benches exploded but for different reasons. The Gator bench emptied to a celebration of the foul side of the third-base line. The Arkansas bench emptied and rushed toward Butts to argue. The argument continued with first-base umpire Jeff Head and third-base umpire David Savage until the umpires ran out the left-field gate to exit the field.

The victory lifted Florida to 28-11 overall and 12-6 in the SEC Eastern Division. The Razorbacks, who saw their 13-game winning streak snapped by Florida Saturday in its 8-2 victory, fell to 33-8 overall and 13-5 in the SEC Western Division.

“From my angle, it look like the ball beat him there, but I couldn’t tell if he made a tag or not,” O’Sullivan said. “I don’t have the best angle. There’s not much to say other than it was the winning run.”

Brian Johnson, who started the game on the mound, started the ninth inning rally with a one-out single up the middle off Razorbacks reliever Mike Bolsinger. Dent then entered the game to run for him. Matt den Dekker followed with a single to right field, moving Dent to second, before Zunino won the game with his base hit.

What Johnson did on the mound was more impressive. He went a career-high seven innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out nine batters. The strikeout number was the most any Gator has recorded since Jeff Barfield struck out nine against Tennessee last season on March 20. The freshman didn’t pitch last weekend at Kentucky because he was resting a pulled muscle, and the week off seemed to give his arm the rest it needed.

“My arm felt fresh the whole game,” Johnson said. “I just felt fresh and focused.”

The 56-game college season can take a toll on any freshman after playing around 25 games in a high school season. O’Sullivan believes the week off was exactly what Johnson needed.

“That has something to do with it,” O’Sullivan said. “It probably was a really good thing for him to take a week off.”

Johnson’s fastball had more velocity than it did in recent weeks, and his curveball kept hitters honest. But it was the changeup that helped him record the high number of strikeouts.

“It felt good to get back out there,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if I could have dreamed it up better. I was bored staying home (last weekend). I felt like I needed to go back out there and prove myself.”

Preston Tucker’s solo home run to lead off the fourth inning put Johnson in position to record his fourth win of the season. That changed when the Gators handed the ball to closer Kevin Chapman to start the eighth inning.

He recorded a pop up and a strikeout before throwing an 0-1 fastball that got too much of the plate. Collin Kuhn hit it over the bleachers, tying the game and stealing the win Johnson pitched well enough to earn.

The Gators now face their first week this season with no midweek games because of exams. The plan is to take the day off Monday but return to practice on Tuesday. The practice schedule will most likely be lighter on the players since the team relies on so many freshmen that could use the time to study.

“For some teams, a light week might not be good,” O’Sullivan said. “For this team, getting off their feet for a day or two is probably going to be good since there are so many young players.”

The Gators return to action Friday at home against defending national champion Louisiana State. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. The pitching matchup is not official, but it looks to be Florida sophomore left-hander Alex Panteliodis (6-2, 3.18 ERA) against LSU junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (2-1, 6.35 ERA).

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Eastern Division Conference Overall

(Rank) Team W-L Pct. W-L Pct.


(10) South Carolina 14-4 .778 32-8 .800

(11) Florida 12-6 .667 28-11 .718

(15) Vanderbilt 9-9 .500 32-11 .744

Kentucky 6-12 .333 23-17 .575

Tennessee 6-12 .333 21-20 .512

Georgia 3-15 .167 12-28 .300

Western Division Conference Overall

(Rank) Team W-L Pct. W-L Pct.


(7) Arkansas 13-5 .722 33-8 .805

(5) Louisiana State 11-7 .611 32-9 .780

(19) Mississippi 11-7 .611 28-13 .683

Auburn 10-8 .556 27-14 .659

Alabama 8-10 .444 25-15 .625

Mississippi State 5-13 .278 20-20 .500

(Rank) Ranking is the latest USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll 04/19/10

RESULTS

FRIDAY / April 23


Arkansas 8, Florida 3

South Carolina 11, Georgia 4

Vanderbilt 10, Tennessee 1

Auburn 13, Kentucky 6

Alabama 1, Mississippi State 0 (bottom 1, suspended)

Louisiana State at Mississippi, ppd., inclement weather

SATURDAY / April 24

Florida 8, Arkansas 2

Mississippi 11, Louisiana State 9 (1st)

Mississippi 9, Louisiana State 8 (2nd)

Kentucky 0, Auburn 0 (game suspended in first inning)

Alabama 8, Mississippi State 5 (resumption of suspended game)

Mississippi State at Alabama, ppd., inclement weather

South Carolina at Georgia, ppd., inclement weather

Vanderbilt at Tennessee, ppd., inclement weather

SUNDAY / April 25

Florida 2, Arkansas 1

Mississippi 7, Louisiana State 6

South Carolina 5, Georgia 0 (1st, 7 inn.)

South Carolina 8, Georgia 7 (2nd, 7 inn.)

Tennessee 4, Vanderbilt 2 (1st, 11 inn.)

Tennessee 4, Vanderbilt 3 (2nd, 7 inn.)

Kentucky 8, Auburn 7 (resumption of suspended game)

Auburn 6, Kentucky 5 (7 inn.)

Alabama 9, Mississippi State 8 (resumption of suspended game, 8 inn.)

Alabama 6, Mississippi State 4 (7 inn.)

SCHEDULE

TUESDAY / April 27


Belmont at Tennessee, 6 p.m.

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech at Turner Field, 7 p.m.

Vanderbilt at Austin Peay, 7 p.m.

Murray State at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.

New Orleans at Louisiana State, 7:30 p.m.

Samford at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.

Mississippi Valley at Alabama, 7:35 p.m.

WEDNESDAY / April 28

Western Carolina at Georgia, 5 p.m.

Kentucky at Louisville, 6 p.m.

Tennessee-Martin at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.

Mississippi Valley at Alabama, 7:35 p.m.

Missouri State at Arkansas, 7:35 p.m.

FRIDAY / April 30

Kentucky at Tennessee, 5 p.m.

Alabama at South Carolina, 7 p.m.

Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

Auburn at Arkansas, 7:35 p.m.

Louisiana State at Florida, 8 p.m. (CSS)

Mississippi at Mississippi State, 8 p.m. (FSN)

SATURDAY / May 1

Alabama at South Carolina, 1 p.m.

Louisiana State at Florida, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)

Auburn at Arkansas, 3:05 p.m.

Kentucky at Tennessee, 4 p.m.

Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

Mississippi at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m. (SportSouth)

SUNDAY / May 2

Louisiana State at Florida, 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Alabama at South Carolina, 1:30 p.m.

Georgia at Vanderbilt, 2 p.m.

Auburn at Arkansas, 2:05 p.m.

Mississippi at Mississippi State, 2:30 p.m. (CSS)

Kentucky at Tennessee, 3 p.m.

RANKINGS

April 19, 2010

USA TODAY/ESPN COACHES


1. Arizona State (31-3); 2. Texas (30-7); 3. Georgia Tech (31-5); 4. Virginia (29-9); 5. Louisiana State (30-6); 6. UCLA (27-5); 7. Arkansas (31-6); 8. Coastal Carolina (32-5); 9. Florida State (28-9); 10. South Carolina (28-8); 11. Florida (25-10); 12. Texas Christian (27-7); 13. Louisville (29-6); 14. Miami, Fla. (27-9); 15. Vanderbilt (29-9); 16. Kansas State (26-8); 17. Arizona (26-9); 18. Oklahoma (26-10); 19. Mississippi (24-13); 20. Clemson (23-14); 21. Cal State Fullerton (20-13); 22. Oregon State (20-11); 23. California (22-11); 24. Southeastern Louisiana (29-9); 25. Oregon (23-12).

BASEBALL AMERICA

1. Arizona State (31-3); 2. Virginia (29-9); 3. Texas (30-7); 4. Georgia Tech (31-5); 5. UCLA (27-5); 6. Florida State (28-9); 7. Florida (25-10); 8. Louisiana State (30-6); 9. Arkansas (31-6); 10. South Carolina (28-8); 11. Texas Christian (27-7); 12. Coastal Carolina (32-5); 13. Louisville (29-6); 14. Miami, Fla. (27-9); 15. California (22-11); 16. Cal State Fullerton (20-13); 17. Arizona (26-9); 18. Oregon (23-12); 19. Mississippi (24-13); 20. Virginia Tech (25-13); 21. Connecticut (27-7); 22. Stanford (18-13); 23. Vanderbilt (29-9); 24. Oklahoma (26-10); 25. Southeastern Louisiana (29-9).

COLLEGIATE BASEBALL

1. Arizona State (31-3); 2. Texas (30-7); 3. Georgia Tech (31-5); 4. Arkansas (31-6); 5. South Carolina (28-8); 6. Louisiana State (30-6); 7. Coastal Carolina (32-5); 8. UCLA (27-5); 9. Miami, Fla. (27-9); 10. Virginia (29-9); 11. Florida State (28-9); 12. Florida (25-10); 13. Louisville (29-6); 14. Texas Christian (27-7); 15. California (22-11); 16. Cal State Fullerton (20-13); 17. Kansas State (26-8); 18. Arizona (26-9); 19. Connecticut (27-7); 20. Oklahoma (26-10); 21. Rutgers (21-13); 22. Stanford (18-13); 23. Oregon (23-12); 24. Pittsburgh (26-9); 25. Oregon State (20-11); 26. Clemson (23-14); 27. Mississippi (24-13); 28. Vanderbilt (29-9); 29. Auburn (24-13); 30. Northwestern State (24-10).

NATIONAL COLLEGE BASEBALL WRITERS ASSOCIATION

1. Arizona State (31-3); 2. Texas (30-7); 3. Georgia Tech (31-5); 4. Virginia (29-9); 5. Louisiana State (30-6); 6. Arkansas (31-6); 7. UCLA (27-5); 8. Texas Christian (27-7); 9. Coastal Carolina (32-5); 10. Florida State (28-9); 11. Louisville (29-6); 12. Florida (25-10); 13. Miami, Fla. (27-9); 14. South Carolina (28-8); 15. Vanderbilt (29-9); 16. Arizona (26-9); 17. Oklahoma (26-10); 18. Kansas State (26-8); 19. Cal State Fullerton (20-13); 20. Southeastern Louisiana (29-9); 21. East Carolina (24-12); 22. Oregon State (20-11); 23. Mississippi (24-13); 24. Clemson (23-14); 25. California (22-11); 26. Western Kentucky (27-12); 27. Connecticut (27-7); 28. Virginia Tech (25-13); 29. North Carolina (22-16); 30. Stanford (18-13).

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Mike Zunino didn’t hit the pitch hard, but it didn’t matter. His bloop single to right field in the ninth inning scored pinch-runner Cody Dent, giving the No. 7 Gators a 2-1 weather-delayed Southeastern Conference baseball victory over No. 4 Arkansas Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.

“Another time where Coach (Kevin O’Sullivan) helped me out and said he was going to hang me a breaking ball,” Zunino said. “I got the hanging breaking ball, but I tried to do too much with it. Luckily, I got enough on it. It was good enough to get over (the second baseman).”

Whether or not Dent was actually safe is still up for debate, and Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn made sure to do that. The throw from right fielder Matt Vinson brought catcher James McCann up the third-base line to catch it. Dent tried to go around him as McCann caught the ball and went to his left for the swipe tag. Home-plate umpire Owen Butts felt the tag missed Dent, who jumped back to home plate for a second time to make sure he was safe.

Both benches exploded but for different reasons. The Gator bench emptied to a celebration of the foul side of the third-base line. The Arkansas bench emptied and rushed toward Butts to argue. The argument continued with first-base umpire Jeff Head and third-base umpire David Savage until the umpires ran out the left-field gate to exit the field.

The victory lifted Florida to 28-11 overall and 12-6 in the SEC Eastern Division. The Razorbacks, who saw their 13-game winning streak snapped by Florida Saturday in its 8-2 victory, fell to 33-8 overall and 13-5 in the SEC Western Division.

“From my angle, it look like the ball beat him there, but I couldn’t tell if he made a tag or not,” O’Sullivan said. “I don’t have the best angle. There’s not much to say other than it was the winning run.”

Brian Johnson, who started the game on the mound, started the ninth inning rally with a one-out single up the middle off Razorbacks reliever Mike Bolsinger. Dent then entered the game to run for him. Matt den Dekker followed with a single to right field, moving Dent to second, before Zunino won the game with his base hit.

What Johnson did on the mound was more impressive. He went a career-high seven innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out nine batters. The strikeout number was the most any Gator has recorded since Jeff Barfield struck out nine against Tennessee last season on March 20. The freshman didn’t pitch last weekend at Kentucky because he was resting a pulled muscle, and the week off seemed to give his arm the rest it needed.

“My arm felt fresh the whole game,” Johnson said. “I just felt fresh and focused.”

The 56-game college season can take a toll on any freshman after playing around 25 games in a high school season. O’Sullivan believes the week off was exactly what Johnson needed.

“That has something to do with it,” O’Sullivan said. “It probably was a really good thing for him to take a week off.”

Johnson’s fastball had more velocity than it did in recent weeks, and his curveball kept hitters honest. But it was the changeup that helped him record the high number of strikeouts.

“It felt good to get back out there,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if I could have dreamed it up better. I was bored staying home (last weekend). I felt like I needed to go back out there and prove myself.”

Preston Tucker’s solo home run to lead off the fourth inning put Johnson in position to record his fourth win of the season. That changed when the Gators handed the ball to closer Kevin Chapman to start the eighth inning.

He recorded a pop up and a strikeout before throwing an 0-1 fastball that got too much of the plate. Collin Kuhn hit it over the bleachers, tying the game and stealing the win Johnson pitched well enough to earn.

The Gators now face their first week this season with no midweek games because of exams. The plan is to take the day off Monday but return to practice on Tuesday. The practice schedule will most likely be lighter on the players since the team relies on so many freshmen that could use the time to study.

“For some teams, a light week might not be good,” O’Sullivan said. “For this team, getting off their feet for a day or two is probably going to be good since there are so many young players.”

The Gators return to action Friday at home against defending national champion Louisiana State. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. The pitching matchup is not official, but it looks to be Florida sophomore left-hander Alex Panteliodis (6-2, 3.18 ERA) against LSU junior right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (2-1, 6.35 ERA).

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Eastern Division Conference Overall

(Rank) Team W-L Pct. W-L Pct.


(10) South Carolina 14-4 .778 32-8 .800

(11) Florida 12-6 .667 28-11 .718

(15) Vanderbilt 9-9 .500 32-11 .744

Kentucky 6-12 .333 23-17 .575

Tennessee 6-12 .333 21-20 .512

Georgia 3-15 .167 12-28 .300

Western Division Conference Overall

(Rank) Team W-L Pct. W-L Pct.


(7) Arkansas 13-5 .722 33-8 .805

(5) Louisiana State 11-7 .611 32-9 .780

(19) Mississippi 11-7 .611 28-13 .683

Auburn 10-8 .556 27-14 .659

Alabama 8-10 .444 25-15 .625

Mississippi State 5-13 .278 20-20 .500

(Rank) Ranking is the latest USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll 04/19/10

RESULTS

FRIDAY / April 23


Arkansas 8, Florida 3

South Carolina 11, Georgia 4

Vanderbilt 10, Tennessee 1

Auburn 13, Kentucky 6

Alabama 1, Mississippi State 0 (bottom 1, suspended)

Louisiana State at Mississippi, ppd., inclement weather

SATURDAY / April 24

Florida 8, Arkansas 2

Mississippi 11, Louisiana State 9 (1st)

Mississippi 9, Louisiana State 8 (2nd)

Kentucky 0, Auburn 0 (game suspended in first inning)

Alabama 8, Mississippi State 5 (resumption of suspended game)

Mississippi State at Alabama, ppd., inclement weather

South Carolina at Georgia, ppd., inclement weather

Vanderbilt at Tennessee, ppd., inclement weather

SUNDAY / April 25

Florida 2, Arkansas 1

Mississippi 7, Louisiana State 6

South Carolina 5, Georgia 0 (1st, 7 inn.)

South Carolina 8, Georgia 7 (2nd, 7 inn.)

Tennessee 4, Vanderbilt 2 (1st, 11 inn.)

Tennessee 4, Vanderbilt 3 (2nd, 7 inn.)

Kentucky 8, Auburn 7 (resumption of suspended game)

Auburn 6, Kentucky 5 (7 inn.)

Alabama 9, Mississippi State 8 (resumption of suspended game, 8 inn.)

Alabama 6, Mississippi State 4 (7 inn.)

SCHEDULE

TUESDAY / April 27


Belmont at Tennessee, 6 p.m.

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech at Turner Field, 7 p.m.

Vanderbilt at Austin Peay, 7 p.m.

Murray State at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.

New Orleans at Louisiana State, 7:30 p.m.

Samford at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.

Mississippi Valley at Alabama, 7:35 p.m.

WEDNESDAY / April 28

Western Carolina at Georgia, 5 p.m.

Kentucky at Louisville, 6 p.m.

Tennessee-Martin at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.

Mississippi Valley at Alabama, 7:35 p.m.

Missouri State at Arkansas, 7:35 p.m.

FRIDAY / April 30

Kentucky at Tennessee, 5 p.m.

Alabama at South Carolina, 7 p.m.

Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

Auburn at Arkansas, 7:35 p.m.

Louisiana State at Florida, 8 p.m. (CSS)

Mississippi at Mississippi State, 8 p.m. (FSN)

SATURDAY / May 1

Alabama at South Carolina, 1 p.m.

Louisiana State at Florida, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)

Auburn at Arkansas, 3:05 p.m.

Kentucky at Tennessee, 4 p.m.

Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

Mississippi at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m. (SportSouth)

SUNDAY / May 2

Louisiana State at Florida, 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Alabama at South Carolina, 1:30 p.m.

Georgia at Vanderbilt, 2 p.m.

Auburn at Arkansas, 2:05 p.m.

Mississippi at Mississippi State, 2:30 p.m. (CSS)

Kentucky at Tennessee, 3 p.m.

RANKINGS

April 19, 2010

USA TODAY/ESPN COACHES


1. Arizona State (31-3); 2. Texas (30-7); 3. Georgia Tech (31-5); 4. Virginia (29-9); 5. Louisiana State (30-6); 6. UCLA (27-5); 7. Arkansas (31-6); 8. Coastal Carolina (32-5); 9. Florida State (28-9); 10. South Carolina (28-8); 11. Florida (25-10); 12. Texas Christian (27-7); 13. Louisville (29-6); 14. Miami, Fla. (27-9); 15. Vanderbilt (29-9); 16. Kansas State (26-8); 17. Arizona (26-9); 18. Oklahoma (26-10); 19. Mississippi (24-13); 20. Clemson (23-14); 21. Cal State Fullerton (20-13); 22. Oregon State (20-11); 23. California (22-11); 24. Southeastern Louisiana (29-9); 25. Oregon (23-12).

BASEBALL AMERICA

1. Arizona State (31-3); 2. Virginia (29-9); 3. Texas (30-7); 4. Georgia Tech (31-5); 5. UCLA (27-5); 6. Florida State (28-9); 7. Florida (25-10); 8. Louisiana State (30-6); 9. Arkansas (31-6); 10. South Carolina (28-8); 11. Texas Christian (27-7); 12. Coastal Carolina (32-5); 13. Louisville (29-6); 14. Miami, Fla. (27-9); 15. California (22-11); 16. Cal State Fullerton (20-13); 17. Arizona (26-9); 18. Oregon (23-12); 19. Mississippi (24-13); 20. Virginia Tech (25-13); 21. Connecticut (27-7); 22. Stanford (18-13); 23. Vanderbilt (29-9); 24. Oklahoma (26-10); 25. Southeastern Louisiana (29-9).

COLLEGIATE BASEBALL

1. Arizona State (31-3); 2. Texas (30-7); 3. Georgia Tech (31-5); 4. Arkansas (31-6); 5. South Carolina (28-8); 6. Louisiana State (30-6); 7. Coastal Carolina (32-5); 8. UCLA (27-5); 9. Miami, Fla. (27-9); 10. Virginia (29-9); 11. Florida State (28-9); 12. Florida (25-10); 13. Louisville (29-6); 14. Texas Christian (27-7); 15. California (22-11); 16. Cal State Fullerton (20-13); 17. Kansas State (26-8); 18. Arizona (26-9); 19. Connecticut (27-7); 20. Oklahoma (26-10); 21. Rutgers (21-13); 22. Stanford (18-13); 23. Oregon (23-12); 24. Pittsburgh (26-9); 25. Oregon State (20-11); 26. Clemson (23-14); 27. Mississippi (24-13); 28. Vanderbilt (29-9); 29. Auburn (24-13); 30. Northwestern State (24-10).

NATIONAL COLLEGE BASEBALL WRITERS ASSOCIATION

1. Arizona State (31-3); 2. Texas (30-7); 3. Georgia Tech (31-5); 4. Virginia (29-9); 5. Louisiana State (30-6); 6. Arkansas (31-6); 7. UCLA (27-5); 8. Texas Christian (27-7); 9. Coastal Carolina (32-5); 10. Florida State (28-9); 11. Louisville (29-6); 12. Florida (25-10); 13. Miami, Fla. (27-9); 14. South Carolina (28-8); 15. Vanderbilt (29-9); 16. Arizona (26-9); 17. Oklahoma (26-10); 18. Kansas State (26-8); 19. Cal State Fullerton (20-13); 20. Southeastern Louisiana (29-9); 21. East Carolina (24-12); 22. Oregon State (20-11); 23. Mississippi (24-13); 24. Clemson (23-14); 25. California (22-11); 26. Western Kentucky (27-12); 27. Connecticut (27-7); 28. Virginia Tech (25-13); 29. North Carolina (22-16); 30. Stanford (18-13).

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