Rival Florida Gators put Miami Hurricanes on brink of elimination, win 7-2 in Gainesville Super Regional

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Scott Lawson makes contact last season. // Courtesy Rob DunningSophomore left-hander Alex Panteliodis picked the perfect time to pitch his first complete game.

Florida beat rival Miami 7-2 on Friday night at McKethan Stadium in the Gainesville Super Regional.

Panteliodis (11-2), who retired the final 14 batters, allowed just three hits. He struck out 12.

“Obviously, it all started with Alex – he was outstanding,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Anytime you have a pitcher throw a complete game in a three-game series, you have to feel good about your staff.”

The Gators (46-15) jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Hurricanes (43-19) with three unearned runs in the third.

Jonathan Pigott, the ninth batter, led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by leadoff hitter Nolan Fontana.

After a fly ball out to center off the bat of Matt den Dekker, Preston Tucker walked and Austin Maddox reached on an error by shortstop Stephen Perez.

It was just his 12th error of the year and loaded the bases.

On Brian Johnson’s sixth pitch of the at-bat he lined a ball to Perez, who thought he caught it in the air, but the third base umpire Phil Benson said he trapped it.

That gave Johnson an RBI infield single and kept the inning alive.

Mike Zunino followed with a two-out two-RBI single to left.

Miami came right back in the top of the fourth when Scott Lawson singled to right and Yasmani Grandal hit an opposite field home run over the right field wall. It was his 15th homer of the year and gave him 60 RBI on the season.

But that was all the offense the Hurricanes would muster the rest of the way.

The Gators scored three runs again in the fourth on another three hits and an error. Tyler Thompson led off with a walk and Pigott singled.

Florida’s eighth and ninth batters reached base four times.

Fontana then reached on an error by second baseman Frankie Ratcliff to load the bases. den Dekker grounded out to first for an RBI and Tucker popped up to Ratcliff.

But consecutive two-out hits by Maddox and Johnson drove in two more runs.
Thompson would add on with a solo homer to right in the fifth, his sixth of the year, to give the Gators a commanding 7-2 lead.

David Gutierrez (5-3) took the loss despite giving up just one earned run over four innings. Jason Santana pitched the final four frames and gave up just one run in long relief.

“I was mainly moving the fastball in and out,” Panteliodis said. “I went to the off-speed for a little bit early in the game and then it was mainly fastballs after that. My team was behind me the whole time and they kept me in the game, kept me feeling confident.”

Miami and Florida will play tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the second game of the Gainesville Super Regional. Freshman right-hander Hudson Randall (8-3, 2.97) will try to clinch a trip to Omaha over junior left-hander Chris Hernandez (10-3, 2.77) and the Canes.

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