Miami Downs Gators in Series Opener

Eighth-ranked Miami (4-0) jumped out to a 7-0 lead to support the pitching of sophomore Eric Erickson (2-0), who was perfect into the sixth inning, as the Hurricanes downed Florida (5-1), 8-4, on Friday night at Mark Light Stadium.

Erickson set down the first 15 Gators he faced before senior Jon Townsend walked and sophomore Hampton Tignor delivered a one-out double for the visitor's initial hit. After UF closed to within 7-4 on a two-run homer in the seventh by sophomore Jonathan Pigott, the hosts added an insurance run in the eighth to secure the victory in the opener of a three-game series.

The Hurricanes began the scoring with four unearned runs in the second inning off sophomore Kyle Mullaney (0-1). Junior Dave DiNatale led off by being hit by a pitch, stole second and scored when junior Adan Severino's grounder was misplayed by sophomore Clayton Pisani. A sacrifice bunt by sophomore Ryan Jackson advanced Severino and a fly ball by sophomore Jason Hagerty (3-for-4) moved his teammate to third with two down. Junior Blake Tekotte (3-for-4) delivered an RBI single up the middle and junior Jemile Weeks followed with a two-run homer, his second of the campaign, to provide the Hurricanes with a 4-0 lead.

Miami loaded the bases with two out in the fourth before Mullaney fanned freshman pinch hitter Iden Nazario on a 3-2 pitch. Hagerty opened the frame with a base-hit up the middle and was sacrificed over by Tekotte. Back-to-back two-out walks to junior Yonder Alonso and sophomore Mark Sobolewski filled the sacks full of Hurricanes and Mullaney responded with his fourth K to keep the Gators down by four.

The Hurricanes tacked on three more runs in the fifth on consecutive RBI doubles by Jackson and Hegarty and a wild pitch to build a 7-0 advantage. Severino drew a one-out walk and scored on Jackson's third double of the year. A throwing error by sophomore Cole Figueroa on the play enabled Jackson to take third and ended the night for Mullaney. Over 4.1 innings, the righty surrendered eight hits and six runs (two earned) with four walks and four strikeouts. Hagarty greeted sophomore reliever Clint Franklin with his first two-bagger of '08 down the right-field line, moved to second on a pop-up by Tekotte and came racing home on an errant pitch.

Erickson cruised through the first five innings before Townsend walked on four pitches to begin the sixth. Tignor broke up the left-hander's no-hit bid with a one-out double to right center for a pair of runners in scoring position and sophomore Buddy Munroe came through with a pinch-hit infield single to put UF on the board. After a fielder's choice by Pisani plated Tignor, Erickson rebounded to whiff Figueroa and had senior Brandon McArthur line out to Weeks to strand the runners.

Pigott connected on his first round-tripper of the season with Townsend aboard in the seventh to narrow the Gators' deficit to 7-4. Erickson had retired the first two batters before Townsend sliced a single into right field. Pigott stepped to the dish and cranked a 1-0 offering over the wall in left center, ending Erickson's night on the hill. On 6.2 innings, the lefty totaled nine K and allowed four hits.

Hagerty and Tekotte started the home part of the eighth with singles and a walk to Weeks filled the sacks, prompting a pitching change. Sophomore Tony Davis replaced Franklin (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R) and gave up a sacrifice fly to Alonso to complete the scoring.

The duo of sophomore Kyle Bellamy (1.1 IP, three K) and junior Carlos Gutierrez (1.0 IP, 1 K) held the Gators hitless over the final 2.1 frames to preseHagerty and Tekotte were each 3-for-4. Junior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) (1-0, 0.00) will oppose UM senior Enrique Garcia (0-0, 2.25) in game two of the series on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Courtesy UF Sports Information

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