Junior Bryan Augenstein dominated fifth ranked Miami with a stellar seven inning performance as the Gators won 7-2. The right hander kept the Hurricanes off-balance allowing just three hits, while fanning seven. Both of the runs scored on Augenstein were unearned.
Augenstein (1-1) didn’t allow a Miami base runner beyond second base until the seventh inning and that was due to a Florida error that should have been turned into a double play. He threw 106 pitches and finished the contest with a 0.90 ERA.
While the error proved costly for a youthful Florida squad- it was Miami who committed five errors in the contest. Regardless, even if the Hurricanes had come away error free it’s doubtful they would have been able to win this game.
There was far too much Augenstein to overcome and Miami had no asnwer.
With the victory, Florida took back Friday night, which haven’t been kind to the Gators. Last season, the Gators dropped 10 games on Friday nights. It’s doubtful that will happen in ‘06 with Augenstein on the hill.
The young Gators began the game with a beautiful defensive play that seemingly set the tone for things to come. Miami leadoff hitter Jemile Weeks worked Augenstein to a full count before he drove the sixth pitch to the wall in left-center. The speedy Weeks ran around second and challenged left fielder Austin Pride, who scooped up the ball, fired to Clayton Pisani at third who applied the tag for the ‘Canes first out of the game.
In the second Florida designated hitter Jared Kubin hit a ball to third that Miami third baseman Gus Menendez who bounced the throw into first base. Kubin ran by the bag and as he started to make the turn toward second fell to the ground. He was unable to attempt to get back to first base safely and was thrown out by the catcher, who backed up on the play. Kubin was helped of of the field by Florida trainers. He dislocated his shoulder. It was same injury he suffered in 2005. Junior Bryson Barber replaced Kubin in the lineup.
Florida leadoff man Jon Townsend took Miami starter Scott Maine’s first delivery of the fourth inning and promptly deposited it over the left field fence to give the Gators an early 1-0 advantage. Two batters later, Matt LaPorta hit a ground ball to third where Miami third baseman Gus Menendez, who blew the throw to first base. LaPorta advanced to second on the play. Barber followed with a single up the middle to drive LaPorta home with the Gators second run of the game.
Townsend proved to be the big hero offensively going 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI’s and scoring two runs. He is hitting .481 on the season.
In the fifth, Austin Pride led off with a double to the gap in right-center. Right fielder Jonathan Pigott was hit by a pitch. Townsend reached on a fielder’s choice, sacrificing Pride to third. Second baseman Cole Figueroa then sacrificed Pigott home with a fly ball to right field giving Florida a 4-0 lead.
Florida was back in business in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, ‘Canes pitchers walked den Dekker, Pisani, and Brian Leclerc, who hit for Pride. Pigott struck out with the bases loaded. Townsend reached on an error by Miami shortstop Roger Tomas, which allowed den Dekker to score the Gators fifth run of the game.
Miami answered in the top of the seventh. Tomas walked to start the inning. First baseman Yonder Alonzo reached on an error by Townsend on a hard ground ball that he charged and tried to fire to LaPorta in time for the out. However, his throw was in the dirt. With two out, Menendez walked. Designated hitter David Dinatale followed by stroking a single to left field scoring Tomas and Alonzo, both unearned.
The Hurricanes still had two runners on when Richard O’Brien lofted Augenstein’s 2-0 offering to shallow left field. However, Jonathan Pigott, who was moved to left just prior to the start of the inning by Pat McMahon hustled in and made the inning ending play.
Florida chalked two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Pigott reached via yet another Miami error. Townsend singled through the left side and Figueroa was hit by a pitch, and LaPorta walked to load the bases. Barber flew out to right, scoring Townsend.
Closer Steven Porter came on in the eighth and allowed just one hit, while striking out one.
As bad as it was- it could have been worse. Florida left nine men on base in the contest. The Gators ran through four Miami pitchers.
The teams will meet tomorrow at 2pm at McKethan Stadium. Florida will start lefty Stephen Locke (0-1), while Miami will counter with right hander Danny Gil (0-0).