Senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) bashed two more home runs as Florida (16-13/5-2
SEC) overcame a 4-1 deficit with a six-run sixth to capture its series opener
over Georgia (10-15/3-4 SEC), 7-5, on Friday night in front of 2,929 fans at
Foley Field. LaPorta (2-for-4, three RBI) registered
his sixth career multi-homer outing to lift the Gators to their season-best fifth
win in a row and the slugger now leads the SEC with 11 dingers. After surrendering three runs in the first, junior Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.)
(3-3) rebounded to work 7.1 innings for his first league win since May 12 of
last season at Alabama.
The victory marked the first time since 2002 that Florida had emerged victorious in game one
of a series with the Bulldogs.
the Gators with a quick lead in the first inning on his team-leading 10th
homer. The shot to straightaway center field off sophomore Nathan Moreau (2-1)
marked the sluggerís fourth-straight game with a round-tripper, matching the school
record established by Jason Dill between April 3 and 8, 1998. The blast also
enabled LaPorta to reach double-digit dingers for the
fourth consecutive season.
The Bulldogs countered with a two-out rally in the
bottom of the frame, highlighted by a pair of homers, to seize a 3-1 lead. Augenstein retired the first two hitters before sophomore
Gordon Beckham tied the game with his seventh four-bagger to left field. Junior
Matt Olson sliced a base-hit into left and rookie Rich Poythress
put the hosts in front with his first career homer over the wall in center.
increased its advantage to 4-1 in the fifth on an RBI single by Olson. Beckham
battled back from a two-strike count to earn a free pass then swiped second for
his fourth stolen base of the year. Olson roped Augensteinís
1-2 offering up the middle to provide the Dawgs with
a three-run cushion.
The Gators erupted for six runs on six hits in the
sixth and used a pair of two-run shots by LaPorta and
freshman Jake Hicks (Molino, Fla.)
to build a 7-4 lead. Freshman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) led off with a single into center and was
sacrificed to second by junior Jon
Townsend (London, Ky.). Freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee,
Fla.) smacked an RBI single
to right, advanced to second when the relay throw went to the plate and moved
to third on a wild pitch. LaPorta evened the game at
4-4 by hammering Moreauís 1-2 pitch into the parking lot beyond the left-field
fence for his second-straight two-homer outing in SEC action after going deep
twice last Sunday at Auburn. With two down, sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando,
Fla.) doubled down the left-field line for
the second time in the game and scored on a double by freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.)
to give the visitors a one-run edge.
On the next pitch, Hicks belted his first career home run to right field
and collected his first two RBI. †
Senior Adam McDaniel replaced Moreau (6.0 IP, 8 H,
7 R, 4 K) prior to the seventh and issued back-to-back walks to Pisani and Townsend before striking out Figueroa. Following
a wild pitch that advanced both runners into scoring position, LaPorta was walked intentionally for the seventh time this
year and Georgia
made a pitching change. Freshman Ryan Woolley caught senior pinch hitter Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) looking on strikes and had Neer pop up in foul territory to leave the sacks full.
In the eighth, Poythress
and freshman Luke Stewart reached Augenstein for
consecutive one-out singles and rookie Joey Lewis smoked an RBI single to pull
UGA within 7-5. Senior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.)
came out of the bullpen and had senior pinch hitter Matt Robbins ground into an
inning-ending 6-4-3 double play on the first pitch.
Senior Jonathan Wyatt singled with one down in the
ninth off Hurst, prompting UF to put in junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange,
Ga.). The right-hander had
junior Ryan Peisel fly out before yielding a single
to Beckham for a pair of UGA runners aboard. Senior Steven Porter (Ocoee,
Fla.) nailed down his second
save by having Olson fly out to Petrie in foul territory.
Georgia held a
12-8 advantage in hits, led by a 3-for-4, two-RBI performance by Poythress and two each by Beckham and Olson. LaPorta and Neer had two hits
apiece for UF. Freshman southpaw Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.)
(1-0, 0.00) will make his collegiate starting debut for the Gators tomorrow at
1 p.m. against Bulldog sophomore right-hander Stephen Dodson (1-3, 1.75).