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March 7, 2013

Baseball finds winning ways



It hasn't exactly come against Southeastern Conference-caliber opponents, but Florida's baseball team has found itself a winning streak.

Connor Mitchell - he of three at-bats on the season - stepped into the box and ripped a ninth-inning walk-off single up the middle, scoring Vickash Ramjit.

For a 7-7 Florida squad that has seen plenty of close games go the other way this season, the 7-6 win against Jacksonville was a welcomed relief.

"This team needed a walk-off win," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "We've had a tough go of it early in the season, but I'm proud of the way we battled back."

It was the first walk-off hit of Mitchell's career at any level and allowed the Gators to sweep a two-game midweek series against the Dolphins. Florida took game one 8-5 in Jacksonville in a game that saw UF closer Johnny Magliozzi work 3.1 innings of shutout baseball to earn the win.

Though O'Sullivan entered the two midweek games saying he wanted to see new faces pop up in the bullpen, it was mostly more of the same. Ryan Harris, Magliozzi's set-up man last weekend, was the pitcher of record in Wednesday's win after throwing two late innings.

Freshman Mike Vinson was pulled before making an out Tuesday but came back to throw two scoreless innings Wednesday night.

"Rebound runs were an issue again," O'Sullivan said. "Regardless, they battled and they did a nice job."

Florida has now won four game in a row to pull itself to a .500 record. The Gators are carrying on without freshman shortstop Richie Martin, who broke a finger bunting Sunday and had previously gotten on base in every game to start his college career. Senior Cody Dent is starting in his place.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEKEND

The Indiana Hoosiers (6-2) come to Gainesville as the first Big 10 opponent Florida has faced since 2006. The Hoosiers are on an extended season-opening road trip because of northern weather and come to UF after playing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last weekend.

The two teams share one common opponent this season in Georgia Southern, a team the Gators lost to 8-7 in 12 innings. Indiana played two games against the Eagles, losing the first 12-7 and winning the second 11-5.

Indiana is led offensively by reigning Big 10 Freshman of the Year Sam Travis, an infielder who is currently hitting .448 with two home runs and 10 RBI. The Hoosiers have four players hitting .306 or better on the season.

WEEKEND GAME TIMES

Friday: 7 p.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m.


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