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Thursday April 20, 2006McMahon Wins No. 550 As Baseball Defeats No. 5 FSU, 8-3

Tallahassee, FL

A five-run second inning powered Florida (23-18) to an 8-3 victory over fifth-ranked Florida State (33-7) on Wednesday night. The triumph was the 550th of Pat McMahon’s career and enabled the Gators to split the two-game series with the Seminoles. Now in his fifth season guiding the Orange and Blue, McMahon is 550-277-1 in his 14th year as a head coach.


Junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and matched his career-high of four RBI, while junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was 2-for-4 with a solo shot, two RBI and two runs. An 0-for-4 performance by FSU junior Shane Robinson ended his hitting streak at 26 games.


The contest started in front of 6,249 fans, the eighth-largest crowd in Dick Howser Stadium history. The game began at 7:55 p.m. following a lightning delay and went 3.5 innings before lightning and thunderstorms halted play at 9:17 p.m. Play resumed at 10:35 p.m. and concluded at 11:54 p.m, when senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) had Robinson ground out. Sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) worked 1.2 innings to raise his mark to 5-0 and the duo of junior Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) (2.1 IP) and O’Day (2.0 IP) held the high-powered Florida State attack scoreless.


LaPorta put the Gators on the board with a towering solo home run with two down in the first off junior Michael Hyde (7-1). The round-tripper was the slugger’s eighth of the year and just the third surrendered by Hyde.


The Seminoles evened the score in the bottom of the inning on a two-out RBI single by junior Ryne Malone. Robinson had drawn a leadoff walk and was awarded second base on a balk by freshman J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, Fla.). After McMahon was ejected for arguing the call, LaCoste retired sophomore Jack Rye (foul pop-up) and sophomore Dennis Guinn (fly out). Robinson moved to third on the ball to center and scored when Malone sliced a base-hit through the right side for his 35th RBI.


The Gators exploded for five runs on five hits and an FSU error in the second to build a 6-1 lead and hand Hyde the shortest start of his career. Junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) started things off with a free pass and Dickey moved Florida back on top with his team-leading ninth dinger. The blast over the right-field screen extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Sophomore Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) followed with his second double of the campaign, advanced to third on a grounder by junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.) and came across on sophomore Matt Gaski’s (Greensboro, N.C.) hot-shot that eluded the shortstop for a single. Hyde was replaced by freshman Travis Burge and junior Adam Davis’ (Fort Myers, Fla.) fly ball to right was dropped, resulting in runners on second and third. An RBI grounder by junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) scored Gaski and LaPorta drove in Davis with a single. Hyde was charged with a season-high five runs (four earned) and surrendered four hits over 1.1 innings.


A two-run single by Dickey in the fourth increased Florida’s margin to 8-1. Davis was hit by a pitch to begin the frame and moved all the way to third when Burge’s pickoff attempt sailed past the first baseman. Following an intentional walk to LaPorta with one down, Leclerc was plunked to load the bases. Burge struck out Petrie, only to have Dickey smash a two-run base-knock up the middle to match his career-high of four RBI.


Following a 78-minute weather delay, Edmondson took over for LaCoste prior to the home part of the fourth. The rookie left-hander limited Florida State to one hit and a run over three stanzas, with four walks and two strikeouts.


The Seminoles countered with a pair of runs in the fifth to narrow the gap to 8-3. Guinn and Malone cranked back-to-back doubles and an RBI single by sophomore Tony Thomas, Jr. with two out ended the night for Edmondson (1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R). Porter had junior Josh Spivey line out to LaPorta to end the inning.


Florida out-hit FSU by a 10-5 margin, as Barber (2-for-4), Dickey and LaPorta turned in multiple-hit outings. Malone was 2-for-3 and had a couple of RBI to lead the hosts The Gators were perfect in the field for the third time in four games and improved to 8-10 against ranked opponents this season.


McMahon’s club returns to the friendly confines of McKethan Stadium to face Western Division rival Auburn (18-22) for three games starting on Friday at 6:30 p.m. UF is 5-10 in Southeastern Conference play with five series remaining, while the Tigers are 6-9.


Game Notes

  • Florida has scored first in its last five games.
  • Matt LaPorta now has 48 career homers as he pursues Brad Wilkerson’s school record of 55.
  • The Gators finished with a total of eight hits in the teams’ previous meeting on Feb. 28.
  • In nine career games against Florida State, Gavin Dickey is 12-for-30 for a .400 clip.
  • Adam Davis (0-for-3, two runs) had his nine-game hitting streak halted.
  • UF claimed back-to-back wins for the first time since March 14 (10-3 at UCF) and March 17 (6-3 over Arkansas).





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