Gators Head to FAU for Mid-Week Matchup

The No. 1 Gators won't be in for a normal midweek game when they head to Jupiter Tuesday to take on Florida Atlantic. It's a rematch from the championship in the Gainesville Regional last season. The Gators won that 17-0, but don't let that score be deceiving. The Owls return a lot of talent from last season, and it won't be an easy win for Florida.

The game is at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, which also serves as the spring training home for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Florida Marlins. This is the first of four professional baseball stadiums that the Gators will play at this season, as games at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., come later in the season.

First pitch Tuesday is set for 6:30 and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Florida.

The pitching matchup isn't as impressive as it looked over the weekend. Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan announced junior left-hander Alex Panteliodis as the starting pitcher on Sunday, but Panteliodis got sick and won't make the start.

Instead, right-hander Anthony DeSclafani will toe the rubber for the Gators. The junior threw one scoreless inning of relief on Friday night, recording one strikeout. Florida hopes it's a sign of his improvements, as he went 2-3 with a 7.08 ERA last season. It will be his first start since April 18, 2010 at Kentucky. In that start, DeSclafani lasted only 2.1 innings, giving up eight hits and six runs.

Florida Atlantic will start junior left-hander Josh Gonzaga. He threw three innings of relief in the Owls' first game against Hofstra on Friday night and picked up the win. He allowed two hits and recorded one strikeout.

Gonzaga is a ground ball pitcher, as eight of the nine outs he recorded came on the ground. He is a 5-11 pitcher that transferred in from Broward Community College, where he went 4-4 with a 3.25 ERA.

The teams played twice in 2010, and Florida's 17-0 victory in the Regional Final brought them two wins short of a trip to the College World Series. Those came the following weekend against Miami.

Tyler Thompson contributed three home runs in the win over FAU, while Brian Johnson and Mike Zunino hit home runs of their own. Johnson also threw seven shutout innings, while Tommy Toledo and Kevin Chapman closed it out.

The teams also met on May 12 when the Gators pulled out a 7-3 win. Austin Maddox used that game to tie the freshman school record with his 16th home run of the season, and he would later break it with the 17th.

The Florida offense heads into Tuesday's game with a leadoff man that is on a tear. Sophomore shortstop Nolan Fontana was named SEC Player of the Week by the league on Monday after going 9-for-12 at the plate this weekend against USF. He was the first Gator to win the award since Cole Figueroa on May 19, 2008. Fontana also boasts a .786 on-base percentage.

After the game against FAU, Florida returns to host Boston College over the weekend. The series will start early, as Thursday and Friday games will start at 5 p.m., and the Sunday finale starts at 1 p.m. There will be no Saturday game because the Eagles will head to Fort Myers to take on the Boston Red Sox.

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