Feb. 17, 2012
Gainesville, Fla. - Daniel Pigott was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to break a 3-3 tie and the next three Florida hitters drove in a run in the seventh as the top-ranked Gators upended No. 25 Cal State Fullerton, 7-3, on opening night of the 2012 college baseball season.
The teams met for the first time in front of a McKethan Stadium opening day record crowd of 5,356. The fans saw a well-pitched game by both sides for six innings as Titan starter Dylan Floro (3 runs, 5 hits, four stikeouts) and Gator starter Hudson Randall (3 runs, five hits, one strikeout) went toe-to-to for nearly six innings.
Fullerton, playing its first game under it's new Head Coach Rick Vanderhook, dropped to 0-1 to begin its 38th Div. I season. Florida jumps out to 1-0 in its 98th season of baseball.
Relievers Jose Cardona and Koby Gauna struggled for Fullerton in the fateful seventh, allowing a combined four runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter over two-thirds of an inning. Cardona (0-1) was saddled with the loss in his first career outing having left the bases loaded for Gauna with a single and a pair of walks.
Florida's Steven Rodriguez (1-0) allowed just one single by Austin Kingsolver in 2.1 innings of relief for the win. He struck out three of the eight batters he faced.
The Titans took the lead first in the second inning as Michael Lorenzen doubled to left and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Hutting. The outfielder scored on Anthony Trajano's groundout to second.
Freshman designated hitter Taylor Gushue tied the game in the bottom of the second with the first of two Gator home runs on the night off Floro. Casey Turgeon put the Gators in the lead in the fifth with a pop-double that the Titan left fielder overran. Kingsolver got to the ball that was looped down the left field line in time, but the ball dropped in fair as he crossed the line into foul territory. Tyler Thompson (aboard on a hit) scored from second on the play.
Fullerton forged ahead 3-2 in the sixth with a pair of runs to knock Randall from the game after 5.2 innings. Casey Watkins hit a ground-rule double to right to lead off the inning and then moved to third on Richy Pedroza's sharp single to right. Derek Legg scored Watkins with a grounder to second and Carlos Lopez's double to left center scored Pedroza.
Preston Tucker's line-drive homer to right in Floro's final inning tied the game at three runs apiece.
After Cardona loaded the bases in the seventh, Gauna plunked Pigott for the game winner. Tucker followed with a sacrifice fly and Mike Zunino and Brian Johnson followed with back-to-back RBI singles.
Dave Birosak (1.1 IP for Fullerton) and Greg Larson (1.0 IP for Florida) made for a quiet end to the teams' first game of the year.
Lorenzen and Kingsolver combined for four of the Titans seven hits on the night. Johnson, the only Gator with multiple hits, had two of the team's eight knocks.
Game two of the series will begin at 1 p.m. PT on Saturday. Grahamm Wiest will be on the hill for The Titans. Karsten Whitson will go for the Gators.