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Illinois Ace Gives Florida Baseball Their Third Straight Loss

By on March 1st, 2014

The Florida baseball team lost its third consecutive game Friday night, falling to Illinois 6-0.? This was the first time since May 12, 2012 that the Gators have been blanked at home.

For the sixth time this season, Florida failed to score first in the ball game.? Just like Florida Gulf Coast did to the Gators Thursday night, Illinois led off the scoring in the top of the third.? With two outs left in the inning, Illini first baseman David Kerian drove a 1-2 pitch down the first base line that just scooted by the outstretched glove of Florida?s Braden Mattson.? Two runners reached home on the play, Casey Fletcher and Will Krug. Illinois exited the inning with a 2-0 lead.

Richie Martin extended his hit streak to 14 games in the bottom of the fourth.? Two more runners reached base in the inning, via a Casey Turgeon walk, and a fly ball to the outfield from the bat of Peter Alonso that left fielder Ryan Nagle dropped.? With just one out and the base loaded, the Florida offense failed to convert.? First baseman Braden Mattson struck out swinging, shortly followed by a fly out?by Justin Shafer. This is the second time in the last two games that Florida has failed to score a run having the bases loaded with less than two outs.

Florida starter Bobby Poyner lasted just 4.2 innings before freshman Brett Morales was called on to relieve;?Poyner gave up six hits and had five strikeouts.

Illinois made easy work of Morales in the sixth inning,?scoring four runs on four hits.? Morales let the first four runners he faced reach base in the inning, including hitting Ryne Roper with the bases loaded, allowing his older brother Reid Roper to score.? Coach Kevin O?Sullivan?went to the bullpen with no one out?and the bases loaded but third baseman John Sternagel booted a ground ball to plate another run.??Two more runs on a hit by lead off man Will Krug?that dropped in shallow right center.

Down 6-0, the Florida bats failed to heat up on this cool 50-degree night in Gainesville.? The Gator offense finished the game out-hit by Illinois, 12 to 3.

Florida designated hitter?Peter Alonso says the team needs to move on after this tough loss.

?It?s the game of baseball, and it?s going to happen. There are highs and lows at each point in the season. Thankfully, it is just the beginning of the season. We have a lot of season left. We haven?t started SEC play yet, so we have a lot of time to get things rolling. I think we we’ll?be alright.?

Illinois ace, and 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Kevin Duchene shut down the Gators, throwing his first complete game of the season.?? In the final five innings of the game, Duchene only allowed one Florida runner to reach base.? He finished the game with six strikeouts giving up only three hits.

Illinois? Duchene impressed Florida Starter Bobby Poyner.

?Their starter did a great job. He mixed really well and competed the entire night. It?s tough so you have to scrap for runs whenever you can. I got to hand it to the kid because he did a great job.?

For Illinois, it was a great day of baseball.? The team won both games in their Friday double-header, beating Florida Gulf Coast earlier in the afternoon 3-2, drawing themselves back to .500 (4-4) after being 2-4 on the season.

The Gators now look ahead to Saturday, where they will rematch with Florida Gulf Coast.? Karsten Whitson will get the call for the Gators on the mound.? You can hear the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 6:55pm.

Sound from Friday nights game can be heard below:

Bobby Poyner

Kevin O’Sullivan

Peter Alonso

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