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Sunday March 19, 2000Florida Baseball Takes Finale 17-8 Over USC

Columbia. S.C.

South Carolina’s 22-game win streak came to end with a 10-run Florida sixth inning to help the Gators take the series finale 17-8 and end the Southeastern Conference record streak for the Gamecocks.

Florida(15-13, 2-4) sent 15 runners to plate in the sixth inning, scoring a season-high 10 runs off four USC pitchers in the inning. After three consecutive singles loaded the bases on reliever Jamie Poston, South Carolina could not buy an out in walking home three runners, scoring another with a key error, a fielder’s choice and two bases loaded hits by Florida mixed in to end the streak.

Shortstop Kevin Estrada plated two runs with a bases loaded single and third baseman Kurt Keene knocked a double down the left field line again with the bases loaded for two additional runs. In all, Florida scored 10 runs on five hits, five walks and a hit by pitch to erase a 6-1 deficit.

“It is about time we got some breaks,” said Head Coach Andy Lopez. “I am real proud of the way we came back after a rough inning.”

South Carolina dropped its first game of the season, falling to 22-1, 5-1 in SEC play.

Florida added four runs in the seventh inning with Keene again providing a big hit, scoring two with a bases loaded single. Jason Dill, who had three hits and two RBI on the day, followed with a single to score a third run. Tony Socarras, who had three RBI on the day without a hit, pushed a fourth run across the plate with a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.

Reliever Kenny Birch picked up his second win of the season, benefitting from the Florida comeback. He pitched 3.2 innings in relief, allowing three runs on five hits.

South Carolina rallied for two runs in the ninth inning after allowing 16 unanswered runs, but Kevin Estrada made a diving catch to get the force out at second to end the game.

Keene finished 3-for-5 with a career-high five RBI and Estrada had a career-high three hits.

After the first five innings, South Carolina looked like it would cruise to its 23rd consecutive victory.

Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, USC knocked UF starter Craig Mosher (0-3) out of the game after a double by Nate Janowicz with two runners on base for a 3-1 lead. Reliever Kenny Birch then entered the game, surrendering a three-run home to Drew Meyer on his third pitch for a 6-1 USC lead. After two more hits, Birch ended the rally with a pickoff and a strikeout, but the damage had been done.

Florida managed just a single run in the first five innings, scoring on a wild pitch in the third inning. Ryan Raburn singled to start the inning, advancing to third on a sacrifice hit and fielder’s choice. After a walk to Matt Siegel, USC starter Matt Wilson walked Keene with a wild pitch. Raburn scored but Siegel was thrown out at the plate trying to advance when a throw went down to second base.

South Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the game on a solo home run from catcher Brandon Pack in the second inning, adding a second run in the third inning on an unearned run helped by two UF Florida errors. Second baseman John McHenry reached first base on an infield bunt, advancing to second when Mosher threw the fall into foul territory. Mosher got the second out in the inning before Drew Meyer reached on another infield hit with McHenry scoring when first baseman Dill could not come up with the low throw at first base.

Notes: Sophomore Matt Goss, who left Saturday’s game with a left quad pull, will be out 2-4 weeks.

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