Senior Matt LaPorta (Port
Charlotte, Fla.) (3-for-4,
three RBI) continued his offensive tear with two more homers as Florida (17-13/6-2 SEC) clinched its weekend series with
a 9-1 triumph over Georgia
(10-16/3-5 SEC) before a crowd of 2,959 spectators on Saturday afternoon at
Foley Field. Now with 13 dingers, the slugger is hitting .433, has belted a
homer in a school-record five straight games and produced three consecutive
two-HR efforts in SEC play. LaPorta’s 67 career
homers tie him for third on the SEC’s all-time list
with Mississippi State standout Rafael Palmeiro (1983-85).
Making his collegiate starting debut, freshman Tony Davis (Cooper
City, Fla.) limited the Bulldogs to one run
over 5.1 innings to raise his mark to 2-0. Senior David Hurst (Jacksonville,
Fla.) hurled 3.2 scoreless
frames to register his third save. Freshman RHP Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.)
(2-3, 5.23) will start tomorrow’s finale at 2 p.m. on Cox Sports against
freshman LHP Justin Earls (2-1, 2.88). UF is seeking its first sweep in Athens since 1993.
A two-out throwing error by sophomore pitcher
Stephen Dodson (1-4) triggered a four-run outburst by the Gators in the third.
The right-hander retired the first two batters before allowing back-to-back
singles to freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
and junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.).
Dodson then threw away a grounder by sophomore Avery Barnes (High Springs,
Fla.), allowing both runners
to score and Barnes to occupy third. LaPorta provided
the visitors with a 4-0 lead with his 12th home run and third of the series.
Rookie Joey Lewis put the Bulldogs on the board
with a solo shot off Davis
with one down in the fifth. His second homer of the campaign slammed off the
scoreboard overlooking right field and made the count 4-1. It was the first run
allowed by Davis
in 9.1 innings this year.
the run back with a leadoff homer to start the sixth and a one-out single by
senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) ended the afternoon for Dodson
(5.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 ER). Pride moved into scoring position with his
team-leading fourth stolen base and advanced to third on a groundout by senior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). A wild pitch by rookie Alex McRee allowed Pride to come across with UF’s
Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) expanded the Gators’ lead to 8-1
with a bases-loaded, two-run single in the seventh. Freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.)
drew a leadoff walk but was erased on den Dekker’s sacrifice attempt. After a
walk to Townsend, McRee uncorked a wild pitch to
leave runners on second and third. The decision to walk LaPorta
intentionally backfired when Figueroa roped a 1-1 offering into left to create
a seven-run bulge. Sophomore reliever Iain Sebastian replaced McKee (1.1 IP, 1
H, 2 R, 3 BB) and prevented further trouble by fanning
Den Dekker’s sacrifice fly in the eighth finalized
the 9-1 margin. His second sac fly of ’07 plated Petrie, who had started the
stanza with a base-hit. Florida
out-hit its hosts, 10-6, led by LaPorta and Tignor (2-for-3). Sophomore Gordon Beckham and senior Matt
Robbins contributed two hits apiece for the Bulldogs.