A seven-run outburst in the fifth inning
powered No. 21 Mississippi State (33-15/11-11 SEC) to an 8-1 victory over Florida (24-25/6-17 SEC)
in the first game of a doubleheader at Dudy Noble
Field on Saturday afternoon. Making his second start of the year, sophomore left-hander
Justin Pigott (5-0) limited the Gators to three
singles and an unearned run in going the distance for his first career complete
game. He was supported by a 12-hit offensive barrage and a pair of RBI apiece
from senior Joseph Hunter (1-for-4) and senior Brad Jones (2-for-3). The win
clinched the weekend series for the Bulldogs, ending a five-series slide since
March 24-26 (2-1 over LSU), and sent UF to its seventh-straight series setback.
After surrendering a leadoff double
by junior Jeffrey Rea in the first and stranding the runner, senior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda,
Fla.) faced a similar
situation in the third inning. Senior Jeff Butts mashed a two-bagger to the
wall in center before junior left fielder Chris
Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) snared Rea’s line drive. A fielder’s
choice by sophomore Edward Easley resulted in Butts being erased at third and
Ball set down senior Thomas Berkery on a liner to
sophomore second baseman Brandon
McArthur (Seffner, Fla.).
Mississippi State snapped a scoreless tie with seven
unearned runs on five hits and two Gator errors in the fifth stanza. Jones drew
a leadoff walk and was sacrificed into scoring position on a bunt from Butts. A
fielding error on Rea’s ground ball gave the hosts runners on the corners with
one down and a fielder’s choice by Easley enabled Butts to come across with the
game’s first run. Berkery followed with a single into
shallow right to push Easley to third and junior Brian LaNinfa
came through with an RBI single through the right side for a 2-0 lead. Junior
Joseph McCaskill’s fly ball to right was dropped,
allowing Berkery to score the third run. Sophomore
Mitch Moreland punched an RBI single to right, Hunter roped a two-run double
and Jones laced an RBI single to increase the margin to 7-0 and end the
afternoon for Ball (4-8). The right-hander allowed eight hits over 4.2 innings,
with zero earned runs, two walks and a strikeout. Junior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.)
retired the only batter he faced, Butts, to complete the inning in which the
Bulldogs sent 11 batters to the plate.
Helped by a MSU fielding mistake, Florida got on the board
with two down in the seventh frame. Junior Matt
LaPorta (Port Charlotte,
Fla.) was hit by a pitch from Pigott with one out and was on his way to third base on
junior Gavin Dickey’s (Tallahassee, Fla.)
two-out base-knock into right. The right fielder misplayed the ball, allowing LaPorta to score Florida’s
The Maroon and White answered with a
run in the home portion of the frame on a two-out RBI single by Jones off sophomore
Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.)
that plated junior Matt Richardson. Edmondson whiffed junior Wyn Diggs to start things off before yielding a pinch-hit
double to Richardson.
Following a groundout by Hunter, Jones sliced a single into left and Richardson eluded Dickey’s throw to junior catcher Brian Jeroloman
Fla.). Edmondson (1.2 IP, 3
H, 1 R) was replaced by freshman J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, Fla.),
who worked the final 1.1 innings with three K, a couple of walks and one hit.
will send freshman Aaron Weatherford (4-1, 3.03) to the hill in the series
finale against junior southpaw Steven
Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) (1-0, 2.30).
The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Central time.
- Bryan Ball dropped his sixth decision in a row,
dating back to a 6-3 win over Arkansas
on March 17.
- Mississippi State
defeated the Gators in a series for the first time since 2000, when the
Bulldogs took two of three games in Starkville.
- The Bulldogs stranded 10 runners, compared to three
- UF’s hits were provided by Brandon
McArthur (third), Chris Petrie (sixth) and Gavin Dickey (seventh).