April 3, 2010

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CBI Live
Johnson pitches Florida past Vanderbilt

By Jimmy Jones

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com

(photos by Jimmy Jones)


GAINESVILLE, Fla.--- The No. 9 Florida Gators insured themselves of a series win over SEC opponent Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon with timely hitting and 5.2 innings of outstanding work on the mound by left-hander Brian Johnson (right), who also added three hits to lead the offense in the 7-3 victory.


Johnson limited the 19th-ranked Commodores to just one run on seven hits and walked only one batter to record his third win of the year against one loss.


Johnson jump-started the Gators with a one-out single in the second and Daniel Pigott (left) hit a drive over the right-field wall to put the home team up 2-0. It was the left fielder's first homer of the season.


Preston Tucker's RBI double down the right field line in the second extended the lead to 3-0.


Florida added an unearned run in the fifth on a fielder's choice by Austin Maddox to bump the score to 4-0 when they placed runners on first and second with one out.


Maddox hit a grounder to second baseman Riley Reynolds that was fielded and relayed to Brian Harris at short for the second out. Harris' attempted throw to force Maddox out at first for a potential double play was wide and went to the wall, allowing the runner from second to come in and score.


Meanwhile, the Florida left-hander was cruising through the Vanderbilt lineup until Joe Loftus (right) cranked a ball over the right-center field barrier, his fourth of the year, with two gone in the sixth inning to spoil the shutout.


The Gators put the game away with three runs in the sixth to extend the lead to 7-1. Mike Zunino had the big hit, with an RBI single to left that accounted for two runs.


Taylor Hill (3-2) allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits in five innings. He recorded three strikeouts and issued three walks.


The loss may have been a costly one for the Commodores.


Reliever Corey Williams (right) was injured in the seventh inning on a line drive by Maddox right back up the middle that hit him in the right knee.


Williams immediately went to the ground but had presence of mind enough to locate the ball and flick it on the ground in the direction of first base where Aaron Westlake picked it up and tagged the runner.


The redshirt freshman remained on the ground as trainers rushed to his aid. The youngster had to be carted off the field with the injury. He was taken for x-rays at the local facilities.


Vanderbilt made a little noise in the eighth inning when Andrew Giobbi led off with a two-bagger just inside the foul line in left field, his fifth hit of the series.


Westlake then hit a two-run homer to left to cut the lead to 7-3. It was Westlake's fifth homer of the year and first since hitting one against Ohio on March 13.


Westlake led the Commodores with three hits in four trips, while Giobbi added two hits and a run scored.


Navery Moore pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief with two strikeouts and two walks.


The Commodores and Gators will play the final game of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.


Sophomore right-hander Jack Armstrong (3-0, 4.70 ERA) will start for VU, while Florida will counter with freshman right-hander Hudson Randall (2-2, 5.00 ERA). The game will be televised on SUN Sports.