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USF could not overcome a pair of first inning two-run homers by the Florida Gators as Florida jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and then went on preserve a 6-2 win.

Junior outfielder Stephen Hunt went 2-for-5 while scoring both USF runs. Shortstop Sam Mende extended his hitting streak, dating back to last season to nine games.



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Up Next:
USF at Florida | February  20 | 2 p.m. | Gainesville, Fla.
USF at Florida | February 21 | Noon | Gainesville, Fla.

Junior right handed pitcher Randy Fontanez and the University of South Florida baseball team could not overcome three Florida homeruns as USF fell to the Florida Gators, 6-2, at McKethan Stadium Friday night.

After USF left runners on first and third in the top of the first, Florida jumped out to a 4-0 lead powered by a pair of two run homeruns by Josh Adams and Austin Maddox.

Fontanez would then settle into a bit of a groove and retire his next six.

In the bottom of the second, with one out, Daniel Rockhold walked and Eric Sim was hit by a pitch to put two on with one down. After Luis Llerena fouled out, Ryan Lockwood hit an infield single to load the bases on UF starter Tommy Toledo.  Toledo would get Jonathan Koscso swinging to end the threat.

In the top of the third, USF would capitalize on an error by the UF centerfielder that allowed Stephen Hunt to get on base. Sam Mende completed the sacrifice bunt to put a runner on third with one down. Todd Brazeal brought home Hunt with a groundout to first to cut the Florida lead to 4-1.

Both the Gators and the Bulls went scoreless in the fourth, but the Bulls got back to work. After Hunt reached on an infield single, Mende sent a shot to the gap to score Hunt and cut the Florida lead to 4-2.

In the bottom of the inning, Florida would answer and Fontanez would once again be the victim of the long ball. Adams led off the inning with a solo homer to left to extend the Gators' lead to 5-2.

After the Bulls could not capitalize on a one out double by Koscso, Fontanez came out for the seventh inning and after retiring the first two batters, Den Decker singled to left bringing up Adams. Adams continued to be a thorn in Fontanez's side as he poked a double down the right field line that Hunt could not come up despite sliding effort.

That would chase Fontanez from the game. Lefty Teddy Kaufman came onto record the final out of the inning and stranded Adams at second and kept the Florida lead at 6-2.

Fontanez battled through 6.2  innings giving up seven hits, striking out five and walking three. All six Florida runs were earned. Fontanez falls to 0-1 on the season.

In relief, Kaufman pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings and struck out a pair.

Alex Panteliodis, who was a possible Sunday starter for Florida, picked up the win in relief after giving up one earned run on three hits in 3.1 innings. Greg Larson worked the final 2.1 innings for the save.

Offensively, Hunt led the way as he collected a pair of hits, while also scoring both of the Bulls' runs against Florida.

USF had its chances throughout the game, but failed to capitlize with runners on base as the Bulls left 10 runners stranded and were 2-for-17 with runners on base.

Saturday's match-up will feature a pair of freshman, true freshman Ray Delphey will make the his first collegiate start for USF. He will be opposed by lefty Brian Johnson. First pitch is schedule for 2 p.m.

Gamenotes
- After the loss, USF head coach Lelo Prado sits at 697 career wins. For his career, Prado is 697-505 in 25 years of coaching.  Prado is also one victory shy of his hundredth USF victory. He is now 99-75 in four seasons as skipper of the Bulls.

- As a program, USF baseball is 16 victories shy of 1,300 all-time victories in its 46 year history.

- USF is now 2-2 under Prado in season openers.

- Redshirt shirt freshman Alex Mendez picked up his first career hit in his first career at-bat, a pinch hit single to lead off the ninth inning.
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- Second baseman Luis Llerena and catcher Eric Sim earned his first start in the first game of 2010 against the Gators.

- With his fifth inning double, shortstop Sam Mende extended his hitting streak to nine games dating back to last year but by getting just one hit it breaks a streak of five straight multi-hit games.

- By going 6.2 innings tonight, Randy Fontanez has went five or more innings in his last 20 starts dating back to 2008, his freshman season.

- By starting at third base tonight, junior Jonathan Koscso made his 118th consecutive start for USF. He has never missed a game in his three years at USF while Sam Mende started his 60th straight game after starting all 59 games as a freshman.