Gators One Win From Omaha

Sophomore Alex Panteliodis turned in a masterful pitching performance and the Gators capitalized on Miami mistakes to top the Hurricanes 7-2 and grab the opening game of the Super Regional in Gainesville. Florida (46-15) needs one more win to earn a spot in the College World Series while Miami (43-19) has to beat the Gators twice in grab the spot in Omaha.

Alex Panteliodis (10-2) allowed just three hits while striking out a career high 12 batters in throwing the first complete game for any Gator pitcher this season. He retired the final 14 Hurricane hitters and 17 of the last 18.

Each team had a scoring opportunity in the first inning with one out and a runner on second base. Florida's Alex Panteliodis got out of it by retiring Miami's top hitter, Yasmani Grandal on a line drive to right center field and striking out Harold Martinez. Miami righthander David Gutierrez was also equal to the task. After walking Preston Tucker he got Austin Maddox on a hard hit liner to center and Brian Johnson on a bouncer up the middle.

Florida got on the board with three unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a physical error and a mental one by Miami shortstop Stephen Perez. Jonathan Pigott led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Nolan Fontana. After Matt den Dekker flied out, Preston Tucker walked. Austin Maddox followed with a routine grounder up the middle but Perez bobbled the ball loading the bases. Brian Johnson hit a hot shot to the backhand side of Perez who snagged the ball and held it up to show he caught it. However the umpire ruled he trapped it and while Perez tried "selling" the catch all the Gator runners moved up and it was 1-0. Mike Zunino ripped a two-run single to left to drive in two more to give the Gators a three run lead.

Miami answered immediately. Scott Lawson opened the fourth with a single and Grandal followed with a line drive homer that was just fair and just over the right field fence to make it 3-2. It was the 15th HR of the season for the all-American catcher. But it would turn out to be the only offense that Miami would manage on the night.

The Gators came right back in their half of the fourth, loading the bases with no out on a walk to Tyler Thompson, Pigott's second single of the game and another Miami error. ‘Canes second baseman Frankie Ratcliff booted a tailor made double play ball off the bat of Nolan Fontana bringing up Matt den Dekker who grounded out to Ratcliff to drive in a run and advance runners to second and third. Tucker popped up, but Maddox ripped a two-run single to center to make it 6-2.

Florida added a run in the fifth when Tyler Thompson drilled one into the Miami bullpen off Hurricane reliever Jason Santana. It was Thompson's sixth of the season, but his fourth in the last two games.

Panteliodis could not have been more impressive after the Grandal homer. He retired the final three batters of that inning (4th), and after Michael Broad singled to open the fifth erased him with a double play grounder and didn't allow a base runner the rest of the day.

The Gators will go for the clincher Saturday night with freshman righthander Hudson Randall (8-3, 2.97) on the mound. He'll be opposed by Miami ace Chris Hernandez (10-3, 2.77). Hernandez was held out of Friday's game because he threw two innings Tuesday in the rain-delayed Regional clincher over Texas A&M.


Zunino and Maddox led the Gator attack with 2 RBI each. Maddox leads the Gators with 70 RBI, 34 of which have come with two outs in the inning.


Florida has won four NCAA games in a row by a combined score of 39-7. Florida is now 20-4 since April 24th.


Lightning was flashing all around in the fourth and fifth innings but never got close enough for officials to stop the game.

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