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Florida Gators top USF Bulls 6-2 in baseball opener

Florida’s Matt den Dekker dives back safely to first base as USF’s Todd Brazeal awaits the pickoff throw.

Gainesville Sun

Florida’s Matt den Dekker dives back safely to first base as USF’s Todd Brazeal awaits the pickoff throw.

GAINESVILLE — Coming into the season, Florida baseball coach Kevin O'Sullivan knew it would be important for hitters other than Preston Tucker to produce.

Junior Josh Adams and freshman Austin Maddox answered the call Friday, combining for three homers and all six RBIs as Florida beat USF 6-2 in the season opener for both schools.

Adams and Maddox bat second and fourth, respectively, with Tucker, last year's team leader in batting average, homers and RBIs, sandwiched in between. Tucker went 0-for-2 with two walks.

"I don't think there's an easy out in the lineup," said O'Sullivan, who has won all three of his season openers at UF, ranked seventh by Baseball America. "It gives us an opportunity to put pressure on a pitcher every single inning."

Sophomore left-hander Alex Panteliodis, who played at Alonso High, picked up the win in relief, giving up one earned run and three hits in 31/3 innings.

USF trailed 4-0 after a pair of first-inning, two-run homers by Adams and Maddox, but starter Randy Fontanez, the preseason Big East pitcher of the year, settled down and kept the Gators scoreless the next four innings.

The Bulls cut it to 4-2 on former Clearwater Catholic standout Sam Mende's RBI single in the fifth, but Adams added a solo homer in the bottom half.

"It's the first game. You're not going to see Randy give up three home runs," USF coach Lelo Prado said. "Their second baseman (Adams) had a great night."

The series continues at 2 p.m. today and Sunday at noon.

Gators dismiss DT

GAINESVILLE — Florida dismissed redshirt freshman defensive tackle Gary Brown, 19, from the football team after his arrest early Sunday on two misdemeanor counts of battery stemming from an incident at an off-campus party.

Brown, who did not play in 2009 and was rated the No. 2 defensive tackle recruit out of high school in the panhandle town of Greensboro, is accused of striking two women who were trying to kick people out of a party.

Player dies at workout

OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi football player Bennie F. Abram, 20, died after collapsing during the first day of team workouts.

The university said Abram, a nonscholarship junior transfer from Itawamba Community College, died at a hospital after trainers noticed he was having difficulty shortly after the workout started. The high temperature was 57 degrees.

An autopsy is scheduled to be performed today.

Clemson: The athletic department reported 17 NCAA secondary violations, including one where a head coach gave staffers an improper money gift last spring. The coaches, assistants, athletes or sports involved were not included in the report that covered from March through January.

Women's basketball

No. 8 Duke 64, No. 19 Ga. Tech 50: Jasmine Thomas scored 20 as the Blue Devils (22-4, 10-1 ACC) beat the host Yellow Jackets (20-7, 6-5) for the 30th straight time.

Times staff writer Antonya English and Times wires contributed to this report.

Florida Gators top USF Bulls 6-2 in baseball opener 02/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010 11:14pm]
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