March 17, 2012
Gainesville, Fla. - Top-ranked Florida used a stellar pitching performance from starter Brian Johnson and a four-run fifth inning to beat Vanderbilt 5-1 Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.
Florida (18-1, 2-0) scratched out a run in the fourth to take a lead and blew the game open in the fifth inning scoring four runs. An error and a walk to lead off the frame put two runners aboard before a sacrifice bunt by Nolan Fontana moved the runners over and chased Vanderbilt (7-12, 0-2) starter Drew VerHagen from the game. Daniel Pigott greeted Dores' reliever Sam Selman with a two-run single to stretch the lead to three runs. Preston Tucker then capped the four-run inning with a home run just over the outstretched glove of a leaping Mike Yastrzemski in right field.
Five runs proved to be more than enough for Johnson (3-0), who turned in six scoreless innings for the win. The big lefty matched a career-high with nine strikeouts allowing only two hits and one walk. No Vanderbilt base runner reached second base against the southpaw. VerHagen (2-2) was pinned with the loss, giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits over 4.1 innings.
The Commodores put a run on the board in the eighth inning when Jack Lupo singled and came around to score on Anthony Gomez's single up the middle. The run snapped the Florida bullpen's scoreless streak of 32.2 innings. Gomez led the way for VU with two hits for his team-leading ninth multi-hit game of the season. Pigott and Tucker each had two RBI and Mike Zunino added two hits for the Gators.
The two teams wrap up the three-game series tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT on FSN-Florida. Vanderbilt sends freshman Tyler Beede to the hill to face Florida right-hander Jonathon Crawford.