Baseball expects crowd against FSU

Florida's Jon Townsend hits a foul ball against Florida State on March 18.

Aaron Daye/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 31, 2008 at 8:27 p.m.

Dustin Bamberg spent the entire game in Florida's dugout. Nonetheless, the Gators senior designated hitter remembers just how special the atmosphere was at last year's Florida-Florida State game at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.


Tonight's game

Who: No. 3 Florida State (23-3, 11-1 ACC) vs. No. 13 Florida (20-6, 7-2 SEC)
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Where: The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
On air: AM-850
UF probable: Jr., LHP, Stephen Locke, (2-0. 4.07)
FSU probable: Sr., RHP, Ryan Strauss, (2-0, 6.93)

The largest crowd to ever see a college baseball game in this state's history 12,280 watched Florida defeat Florida State, 16-7, on April 3, 2007.

"Awesome atmosphere," Bamberg said. "There were a lot of people there. It was a great game. It was probably one of the funnest games I've ever been to and I didn't even play. It was awesome."

Another capacity crowd is expected to be on hand tonight when No. 13 Florida (20-6, 7-2 SEC) and No. 3 Florida State (23-3, 11-1 ACC) meet at 7 p.m. at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Florida might have to play without freshman second baseman Josh Adams, who bruised his left heel in the sixth inning of Florida's 6-3 loss to LSU on Sunday at McKethan Stadium. Adams, who fouled a pitch off the ankle, rested during the team's off day Monday and will be a game-time decision. If he can't go, sophomore Clayton Pisani will likely start.

"It's not a good thing that he went down," shortstop Cole Figueroa said. "But we'll pick up the slack for him."

The Seminoles will be looking for revenge after Florida defeated them 6-1 on March 18 at McKethan Stadium. Florida's starter that night, left-hander Stephen Locke, will get the start again tonight. Locke is 2-0 against Florida State in four career starts and held the Seminoles scoreless over 5 innings in the team's first meeting this season.

The Seminoles, meanwhile, will counter with right-hander Ryan Strauss (2-0, 6.93).

Gators coach Kevin O'Sullivan said he is looking forward to the atmosphere at tonight's game.

"I heard last year there was a great crowd there," O'Sullivan said. "We're looking forward to getting a lot of our fans there."

Figueroa said the Gators will have to block out what is going on in the stands and focus on what is happening on the field.

"We've gotten a win over them once this year so they're going to come after us hard," Figueroa said. "We need to go out there and worry about them and not how many people are there."

NOTE: Junior right-hander Patrick Keating was named the SEC pitcher of the week Monday. Keating posted a complete-game victory during Florida's 7-1 win over LSU Saturday.

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