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Friday January 21, 2000Florida Baseball Defeats Hawaii 12-6 in Opener

Honolulu, HI

Head Coach Andy Lopez brought in the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in the nation last season and the newcomers wasted little time in making their impact. Sophomore Mark Kiger had four hits and freshman Ryan Raburn belted a three-run home run in his first collegiate at-bat as Florida won 12-6 over Hawaii in its 2000 season opener.

“It was a nice way to start,” said assistant coach Steve Kling. “The offense did what we asked them to do and gave the pitchers confidence knowing the offense was behind them. Jay Belflower gave us the quality innings we needed.”

Kling ran the Florida squad in the absence of the Head Coach Andy Lopez, who remained at the team hotel with flu symptoms.

Overall, the four Florida newcomers in the starting lineup combined for nine hits on the night, including the 4-for-5 effort by Kiger and a pairof hits by both Tim Olson and Pat Osborn. The Gators had 16 hits overall on the night as Florida won its 10th consecutive season opener.

Jimmy Ramshaw held Hawaii to four runs on seven hits over four innings and Belflower threw the final five innings as the Gators opened the season victorious. Belflower (1-0) earned the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with six strikeouts.

Florida jumped out to the lead in the first inning as Kiger singled to open the game, followed by a Kurt Keene double to give UF a 1-0 lead.

“Kiger had a great first game,” said Kling. “He did a great job of preparing to play.”

Hawaii responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning off Ramshaw for its only lead of the game. But, the Gators would score in each of the first six innings in the game.

In the second, Florida got a leadoff double by Tim Olson and a walk to Tony Socarras before Raburn made his first at-bat at Florida historic with a three-run home run that cleared the right field fence.

The Gators scored two in the third inning on a triple by Tony Socarras, who scored four times in the game, and sacrifice fly by Pete Nystrom. UF added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings before breaking the game open with a four-run sixth inning as UF batted around the order.

Olson provided the big hit in the sixth inning with a two-run triple as Florida plated four runs to build a 12-4 lead.

Eight of Florida’s nine starters recorded at least one hit in the game.

Florida and Hawaii will play the second game of the series Friday at 11:35 ET. Sophomore Alex Hart (0-0) is sheduled to pitch for the Gators against Hawaii’s Rich Snider (RHP, 6-6, 4.24 ERA). The game will be broadcast on WRUF-AM 850.
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