Augenstein shuts down Alabama

Junior right-hander Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) (5-5) notched 10 strikeouts over eight strong innings and junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) drove in a season-high four runs as Florida (25-23/12-11 SEC) secured the series triumph with a 9-3 victory over Alabama (26-22/10-13 SEC) on Saturday at McKethan Stadium.

The Gators clubbed three home runs and endured a 49-minute weather delay in the bottom of the eighth before collecting the win. Augenstein limited UA to five hits and two runs in his longest stint since tossing a complete game on March 3 versus George Washington.

Junior Matt Bentley provided the Crimson Tide with a quick lead in the second by leading off with a homer off Augenstein. Bentley's ninth of the campaign came on the first pitch and cleared the right-field fence.

For the Gators, senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) countered with a blast of his own to start the bottom of the frame. His ninth of the year also came on the initial pitch from sophomore Miers Quigley (4-5) and landed in nearly the same spot to right. With one down, freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) belted his first career homer over the 329-foot mark in left for a 2-1 UF lead.

Townsend connected on a two-run jack in the third for a 4-1 count. Freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) (3-for-4, three runs) drew a leadoff walk and took second on a wild pitch by Quigley before Townsend launched a 1-2 offering into the left-field bleachers for his first round-tripper since March 16 against Mississippi State.

Townsend lofted a sacrifice fly to right field in the fifth that resulted in a 5-1 margin for the hosts. Figueroa and freshman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) opened the stanza with back-to-back singles and moved into scoring position on a grounder by senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.). After Townsend's second sac fly, Pride and sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.) were hit by pitches to load the bases with two down. Sophomore Casey Kebodeaux replaced Quigley (4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R) and had Pigott pop-up in foul territory to keep the Tide's deficit at four runs.

Leclerc came through with a clutch two-run, two-out double in the sixth to provide the Gators with a 7-1 cushion. Junior Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) started things off with a pinch-hit single up the middle and freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) delivered a base-knock for two runners aboard. Kebodeaux set down the next two hitters and waged an 11-pitch battle before Leclerc cranked his 11th two-bagger off the wall in left to plate two more runs.

Alabama pulled to within 7-2 in the eighth but squandered an opportunity for more. Sophomore Kyle Moore led off with a single, senior Greg Paiml walked and senior Emeel Salem sliced a base-hit through the right side to load the bases with nobody out. Augenstein caught rookie Brandon May looking on strikes and sophomore Alex Avila lofted a sac fly to score Moore. The hurler registered his 10th K of the contest with a punchout of freshman Jake Smith.

In the home part of the inning, Figueroa doubled to left with one down for his third hit of the game and Pisani stroked a single for runners on the corners. A lightning strike and heavy rains at 6:55 p.m. delayed the game for 49 minutes. When action resumed, junior Brian Griggs uncorked a wild pitch to allow Pisani to occupy second. Leclerc drew a walk and another wild pitch allowed Figueroa to come across and prompted a pitching change. Townsend greeted junior Josh Copeland with his second sac fly of the game for a seven-run Gator advantage.

The Tide had two hits and scored an unearned run off sophomore Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) in the ninth to finalize the 9-3 margin. UF held a 13-7 advantage in hits, as eight of the nine starters contributed at least one. In a matchup of right-handers, freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (2-5, 5.09) will face sophomore Austin Hyatt (4-1, 3.53) tomorrow at 1 p.m., live on Sun Sports.

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