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Saturday January 22, 2000Florida Baseball Defeats Hawaii 10-1

Honolulu, HI

Florida senior Tony Socarras has been friends with Hawaii right-hander Rich Snider for three years. The friendship ended Saturday when Socarras belted a grand slam against his former teammate in the first inning to pace No. 18 Florida to a 10-1 victory over the Hawaii Rainbows in the middle game of the season-opening series at Rainbow Stadium.

The two players were teammates at Seminole CC in Oklahoma for two seasons before joining their current squads last season. Socarras, Florida’s starting catcher, connected on the first offering from Snider in the first inning after Snider hit a pair of Florida players with a double by Jason Dill sandwiched in between as the Gators jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

“I played with Snider two seasons and I knew he liked to get ahead in the count,” said Socarras, who finished with two hits in five at-bats Saturday.

The four-run lead was all the Gator pitching staff would need to hand the Rainbows a second consecutive loss. Alex Hart and Mike Smalley (1-0) limited UH to just five hits on the night, resulting in a single run to help Florida to the victory.

Hart had a career-high seven strikeouts over four innings and Smalley held the Rainbows scoreless over the final five innings to earn his first win in a Gator uniform. He allowed three hits and struck out four batters to secure the win.

“It was a good performance,” said Head Coach Andy Lopez, who returned to the UF bench after missing Thursday’s game with the flu. “We had every facet of the game tonight – pitching, hitting and defense. Tony really set the tone for us early.”

After Socarras’ grand slam in the first inning, Florida added a pair of runs in the third and fifth innings. Freshman shortstop Pat Osborn knocked in two runs in the third and UF took advantage of a Rainbow error in the fifth inning to score two more.

Osborn added another run-scoring single in the fifth and Tim Olson followed with a RBI, scoring Osborn who had advanced to second following his single when Socarras was caught between second and third trying to advance on the play.

Florida’s final run was scored in the eighth inning. Freshman Ryan Raburn led off the inning with a double, scoring on a single by Kurt Keene one batter later.

Snider (0-1) took the loss for Hawaii, allowing eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits over 4.2 innings. Hawaii used five pitchers on the night as UF continued to post a strong offensive attack with 13 hits on the night.

Florida and Hawaii will play the final game of the series Saturday at 11:35 ET. Junior Craig Mosher will make his first career start as a Gator against Hawaii freshman Chad Gianetti in the series finale. The game will be broadcast on WRUF-AM 850 and shown oon the Sunshine Network at midnight in progress.
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