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Tuesday March 21, 2006Stetson Hangs On To Defeat No. 9 Baseball, 7-6

Gainesville, FL

Stetson sophomore Robbie Elsemiller caught Florida junior All-American Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) looking on strikes with the tying run on third base to preserve the Hatters’ (11-12) 7-6 victory over the ninth-ranked Gators (17-8) on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. Junior Nathan Nery (3-2) went six innings to pick up the win, while Elsemiller kept UF scoreless over 1.2 innings and stranded a total of three runners to earn his fifth save. Freshman Brian Pruitt was 3-for-5 with a two-run homer to lead the Hatters’ 13-hit attack.   


“We put ourselves in position to be successful by battling back,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “Unfortunately, we ran out of outs tonight. There were some miscues early and some at bats that could have gone differently but we kept fighting back and that will win out for us in the long run.”


Stetson jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning on three hits and a pair of two-out Gator errors. Senior Nick Palmisano led off with a single through the right side and Pruitt connected on sophomore Tommy Wynn’s (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) next pitch and sent it over the left field wall for his second home run of the season. After allowing a single to junior Adam Tindle and a one-out walk to freshman Brad Pippa, Wynn (0-1, 1.1 IP, 4H, 4R, 2ER) was lifted for redshirt freshman Matt Hightower (Cartersville, Ga.). The southpaw retired junior Shane Jordan on a liner to third for the second out but consecutive fielding errors at short enabled the Hatters to tack on two unearned runs.


The visitors increased their lead to 5-0 in the third on a two-out single up the middle by sophomore Charley Olson. Pruitt singled to right center with one down and moved into scoring position on Tindle’s grounder. The Gators answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning on homers by junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.). Petrie socked Nery’s initial pitch of the stanza to left for his first round-tripper at Florida and Davis tagged a two-run blast into the bleachers with two down for his fourth homer and second in as many games.


Making his first appearance since March 8, freshman J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, Fla.) worked 1.1 scoreless innings before sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) took over on the hill with one out in the fifth. After Pruitt greeted the reliever with his third hit of the game, the right-hander buckled down to retire Tindle (flyout) and Olson (strikeout) to strand two Hatters.


Junior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) pulled the Gators to within 5-4 in the fifth on his third homer of the campaign. Petrie had punched a one-out single and hustled to second on a fielding error when the ball rolled into the outfield. Pride followed with a towering shot into the left-field bleachers.  


Stetson seized a 7-4 advantage in the seventh on four hits, including back-to-back two-out RBI singles. Sophomore Chris Johnson singled up the middle and Palmisano doubled to the wall in center for runners on second and third. Edmondson came through with an important strikeout of Pruitt before Tindle and Olson punched base-hits for the three-run Hatter lead. Senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) had Pippa fly out to right to end the frame.  


Florida closed the gap to 7-6 in home portion of the inning on a two-run double by Pride. Senior Greg Quatrino (Tampa, Fla.) opened with a pinch-hit single, prompting a pitching change. Stetson’s usual Friday night starter, junior Chris Ingoglia, entered the ballgame and permitted a single to Petrie and a two-run double to Pride to reduce Stetson’s lead to one run. The lefty worked out of the jam and stranded Pride on second by putting down the trio of sophomore pinch hitter Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) (strikeout), Davis (foul pop-up) and junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) (flyout to the warning track in center).   


Ingoglia fanned junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) to start UF’s eighth and was replaced by Elsemiller. The right-hander walked junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.) on four pitches and junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) stroked a single through the right side for runners on the corners. Elsewinner rebounded to strike out sophomore pinch hitter Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) and Petrie to preserve the 7-6 lead.


Florida threatened again in the ninth, as Gaski ripped a one-out double down the left-field line. After Elsemiller had Davis fly out to center, he uncorked a wild pitch to push Gaski to third. Facing the dangerous LaPorta, the righty froze the slugger on a 2-2 curve ball to close the game.


Besides Pruitt, four other players chipped in with two hits for Stetson: Johnson (2-for-5), Olson (2-for-4, two RBI), Palmisano (2-for-5, two runs) and Tindle (2-for-5, one run, one RBI). Petrie finished 3-for-4 with three runs to pace the Gators, while Pride (2-for-4) equaled his season hit of four RBI. Edmondson (2.1 IP, 5H, 2R) and O’Day (2.1 IP, 1H, 0R) each worked 2.1 innings for the Gators.


Florida resumes Southeastern Conference this weekend when it heads to Columbia, S.C., for a series against Eastern Division rival No. 7 South Carolina (17-3/2-1 SEC). Friday’s opener from Sarge Frye Field will begin at 7 p.m.  


Game Notes

  • Tonight was the fourth-straight game that UF’s opponent has scored first.
  • Tommy Wynn was making his first start since May 11, 2005, at South Florida (0.1 IP, 4H, 7R, 3BB).
  • The 13 hits were the most allowed by the Gators since Wake Forest totaled 14 in a 4-0 win on Feb. 26.
  • Florida dropped to 4-4 in one-run games.
  • UF’s three homers were its second-most this season, as the squad had four versus Cincinnati on Feb. 12.







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