Ga. Southern shuts out No. 1 Florida
Eagles snap Gators' 24-game home winning streak
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A trio of Georgia Southern pitchers registered 11 strikeouts and limited No. 1 Florida (10-2) to three singles and the Eagles (8-5) collected 11 hits and took advantage of four errors on their way to a 7-0 victory at McKethan Stadium on Tuesday night.
Sophomore starter Chris Beck notched four strikeouts and allowed one hit over two innings, junior Josh Adams (3-1) yielded two hits and had two strikeouts over three innings and junior Matt Murray retired 12 of the 13 Gator batters he faced over four shutout innings with five K to pick up his second save.
The loss snapped the Gators’ school-record 24-game winning streak at home dating back to an 8-3 setback to No. 4 Arkansas on April 23, 2010. UF had not been blanked at home since a 7-0 defeat to No. 17 Vanderbilt on April 4, 2010.
In the third, freshman Ben Morgan (3-for-4, two runs) had a one-out single into right field for the Eagles’ first hit and advanced to second on a balk. Junior starter Nick Maronde plunked sophomore Scooter Williams for two runners aboard and freshman third baseman Zack Powers misplayed a grounder by senior Shawn Payne (2-for-5, two RBI) to load the bases with one down. Maronde answered with a strikeout of sophomore Michael Burruss and was replaced by junior Greg Larson, who had junior Eric Phillips fly out to right field to end the inning. Maronde notched a season-high five strikeouts and permitted one hit over 2.2 innings.
Junior Tyler Thompson collected his first hit of the season with a leadoff single in the fourth off Adams and went to second on a grounder by junior Preston Tucker. A fly-out to right center by sophomore Austin Maddox enabled Thompson to reach third but Adams fanned sophomore Brian Johnson to keep the game scoreless.
Senior Andy Moye and Morgan had back-to-back infield hits to start the fifth and were sacrificed into scoring position on a well-placed bunt by Williams. Larson (0-1) uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Moye to come across with the first run and Payne increased the Eagles’ lead to 2-0 with an RBI single up the middle that plated Morgan. Larson induced a ground ball from Burruss that resulted in an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
In the bottom of the frame, junior Daniel Pigott extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an infield hit with two down. However, Adams picked off Pigott at first to close the stanza.
After senior Steve Cochrane reached on a one-out error by sophomore shortstop Nolan Fontana in the sixth, a fielder’s choice by sophomore Victor Roache erased Cochrane at second. Sophomore Steven Rodriguez replaced Larson (3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R) and surrendered a single to junior Tom Richardson before having Moye ground out.
Adams tossed three shutout innings before Murray took over prior to the home part of the sixth and struck out the side. The Eagles extended their lead to 5-0 in the seventh with three unearned runs on three hits courtesy of an RBI single by Payne and a two-run single by Cochrane. Morgan reached on a fielding error by Rodriguez to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Williams. Soon after, Payne ripped a 2-1 offering up the middle for a three-run cushion. Payne then swiped second base and took third on a grounder by Burruss. Phillips bunted for a single and took second on the play as Payne remained on third base and the Gators did not handle the runner. Cochrane came through with a two-run single that boosted the margin to five runs and Roache followed with a walk before Rodriguez struck out Richardson to end the inning.
Senior Matt Campbell took over for Rodriguez (1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER) and totaled two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth. Freshman Jonathon Crawford allowed a pair of runs on two hits and an error in the ninth before Maddox struck out a pair of Eagles. GSU held an 11-3 advantage in hits and did not commit any errors.
The Gators return to action tomorrow night in Tampa against USF (5-6). The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be carried on the Bright House Sports Network and be aired in Gainesville on WLUF-TV, channel 6 on the Cox Communications’ cable system. Florida took all three games from the Bulls to kick off the campaign.