March 20, 2009
Center fielder Matt den Dekker's two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted Florida to a 3-2 victory over Tennessee on Friday night at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Tennessee scored the first run of the game and held a 2-1 lead heading into the final innings.
The victory was the first for Florida (12-7, 1-3 SEC) in Southeastern Conference play on the season.
Tennessee (9-10, 1-3 SEC) got eight strong innings from starter Nick Hernandez. The junior took the loss (1-2) after pitching eight innings, surrendering three runs on three hits. The junior struck out four and did not issue a walk. Before the eighth, Hernandez retired 18 of 24 batters faced.
First baseman Cody Hawn went 2-for-4 with a home run for Tennessee. The Volunteers outhit the Gators by the count of 10 to 7. Catcher Blake Forsythe and right fielder Josh Liles also recorded two hits each, including a triple for Forsythe and a double for Liles. Hawn improved his average to .316 and now has a team high 29 RBIs on the season.
The Volunteers left eight runners on base compared to only two runners left on by the Gators. Tennessee put runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and seventh but were unable to come up with a run-scoring hit. UT is batting .283 with runners in scoring position.
Florida left-hander Tony Davis (2-0) earned the victory for Florida, shutting out the Vols through 1-1/3 innings. Davis gave up one hit but did not walk or strikeout a batter. Right-hander Billy Bullock earned his third save of the season after pitching the ninth for UF.
Tennessee took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Hawn hit his ninth home run of the season over the wall in right field. Hawn is now tied with Forsythe for the team lead in home runs.
The Volunteers extended its lead to 2-0 in the sixth inning when designated hitter Jeff Lockwood singled up the middle to score Forsythe who previously reached on a triple.
Florida cut the Vols' lead in half, 2-1, with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Shortstop Josh Adam singled up the middle to drive home second baseman Clayton Pisani. The junior doubled to center and the advanced to third on a groundout.
Florida starting pitcher Jeff Barfield went 6-2/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out a season-high nine batters. Barfield did not issue a walk.
The two teams return to the field at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Right-hander Stephen McCray (3-0, 2.84 ERA) will take the mound for Tennessee against left-hander Nick Maronde (1-1, 2.14 ERA) for Florida.