Gators Split with Brown

Junior Avery Barnes delivered a pinch-hit single with the bases full in the bottom of the ninth to lift Florida (9-3) over Brown (3-3) and forge a split of Saturday's doubleheader at McKethan Stadium.

The Bears had captured the opener, 11-2. In the nightcap, the Gators trailed 3-0 in the fourth and 7-2 in the sixth before tying the score with a three-run seventh. Sophomore Clint Franklin (2-0) threw a career-high four innings without yielding a run to notch the victory.

Senior Bryson Barber (2-for-3, two runs) opened the final frame with a single up the middle off senior Rob Hallberg (0-1). Freshman Chris Freshcorn laid down a bunt to advance his teammate into scoring position but Hallberg threw the ball into the outfield, leaving runners on the corners. Following an intentional walk to senior Jon Townsend (2-for-3, three RBI) that filled the sacks, Barnes drove a 2-2 pitch just above the reach of junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo to plate Barber with the decisive run.

"It was exciting getting the winning hit," Barnes said. "I think as a team we did a good job tonight of battling back. Although we got down early, we didn't lose focus. Fortunately we were able to come back and get it done at the end. This was a great win for our ballclub."

Brown started the scoring in the third inning on an RBI grounder by senior Conor Reardon. Junior Steve Daniels (2-for-3) drew a leadoff walk from junior Patrick Keating but was erased on a fielder's choice by senior Ryan Murphy. A base-hit through the right side by Nuzzo gave the Bears runners on the corners and Reardon's ground ball to first base gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Bears seized a 3-0 advantage on back-to-back RBI singles in the fourth by senior J.J. Eno (2-for-5) and Daniels. Sophomore Nick Puñal (2-for-4) opened the inning by being hit by a pitch and freshman Matt Colantonio (3-for-4) delivered a single before freshman Ryan Zrenda sacrificed his teammates into scoring position with a bunt. After allowing the consecutive run-scoring hits, Keating had Murphy ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the stanza.

UF countered with a run of its own in the bottom of inning when Townsend drove in sophomore Jonathan Pigott with a two-out single. Pigott struck out to start the inning but reached on a wild pitch by senior Alex Silverman. He reached second on a wild pitch, moved to third on Barber's grounder and scored on Townsend's hit to the edge of the grass behind second base.

The visitors loaded the sacks with one down in the fifth but could not pad its two-run edge. Keating retired the leadoff batter, Nuzzo, and was replaced by junior Stephen Locke. Over 4.1 innings, Keating gave up six hits and three runs and matched his season high of four strikeouts. Locke committed a fielding error on Reardon's bunt and then let loose a wild pitch to push the runner to second. After issuing a walk to junior Robert Papenhause, the southpaw yielded a single to Puñal to fill the bases. However, he worked out of the jam by fanning Colantonio and having Zrenda ground out.

Senior Brandon McArthur's fielder's choice pulled the Gators within 3-2 in the home part of the fifth. Sophomore Matt den Dekker poked a leadoff single and was sacrificed over by freshman Josh Adams. Sophomore Cole Figueroa reached on an error for runners on the corners and McArthur collected his 12th RBI with a grounder to third.

The Bears exploded for four runs on four hits to create a 7-2 bulge in the sixth. Eno singled up the middle, Daniels was hit by pitch and fielder's choice by Murphy loaded the bases with none out. Nuzzo deposited a RBI single into center for a 4-2 margin and prompted a pitching change. Franklin took over for Locke (0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R) and popped up sophomore Chris Tanabe before surrendering a two-run single into left center by Papenhause and a two-out hit by Colantonio for a five-run Brown lead.

Florida came right back with a pair of runs in the inning to close the gap to 7-4. Barber was hit by a pitch and Townsend registered his second career triple with one down before sophomore Buddy Munroe lofted a sac fly to center field to end the night for Silverman. Over 5.2 innings, the righty struck out eight batters, allowed six hits was charged with four runs (three earned). Sophomore reliever Matt Boylan had den Dekker foul out to end the inning.

Franklin retired the Bears 1-2-3 in the seventh and his teammates responded with three runs to knot the game at 7-7. Adams began the frame with his team-leading third homer to right field. Following a walk to Figueroa, Brown made the call to senior Peter Moskal out of the bullpen. The righty walked McArthur and Pigott beat out a bunt to increase his hitting streak to 16 games and load the bases. After Barber was hit by a pitch for the second time in the contest, bringing home Figueroa, Moskal struck out freshman Chris Freshcorn. Townsend lofted his initial sac fly of the year to even the score and the reliever fanned Munroe to leave the runners on the corners.

The Gators threatened in the eighth, as Figueroa and McArthur collected back-to-back two-out singles off senior Anthony Vita. Hallberg uncorked a wild pitch on his first throw from the mound to advance the runners into scoring position but recovered to have Pigott fly out to right.

Each squad finished with 12 hits and committed three errors. The quartet of Adams, Barber, Figueroa and Townsend had two hits each for UF, while Colantonio led the Bears with a 3-for-4 outing. Freshman Tommy Toledo (1-0, 3.60) will start tomorrow's finale at 1 p.m. for the Gators against either Brown freshman RHP Josh Feit (0-0, 0.00) or freshman RHP Matthew Kimball (0-0, 180).

Courtesy UF Sports Information

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