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#1 Florida Pulls Away Late, Beat USF Baseball 11-4

The Bulls hung tough most of the night, but the top-ranked Gators cracked the USF bullpen late.


A late Florida outburst demonstrated why the Gators are the #1 baseball team in the country as they beat the USF Basebulls 11-4 in Gainesville Tuesday night.

The undermanned Bulls put up a strong fight and got the Gators' attention early. USF loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning, then capitalized with a fielder's choice by Duke Stunkel, Jr., and RBI singles from Joe Genord and David Villar.

Bulls pitcher Michael Clarkson gave the team a chance to win. He pitched six innings and gave up four runs (two earned), striking out two and walking five. Walks continue to be an issue for Clarkson, who has issued 32 free passes in 49 1/3 innings of work.

USF led 4-2 going into the bottom of the sixth before the Gators tied the game. Then the Bulls bullpen imploded in the seventh. Reliever Garrett Bye came on for Clarkson and didn't record an out, giving up four hits and four runs on only seven pitches. Tommy Eveld was unable to stop the bleeding, letting Bye's leftover runners score and allowing two runs of his own on a hit, two walks, and a wild pitch. By the Eveld finally finished the inning, the Gators led 10-4.

The Bulls outhit Florida 13-9. Kevin Merrell and Genord each had three hits and an RBI in the loss.

The Bulls (21-27) have lost five in a row, and it doesn't get any easier this weekend with a series at #21 East Carolina. The Bulls are 4-12 on the road this year.