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Saturday April 22, 2000Baseball Wins on Ninth Inning Home Run 8-5

Knoxville, Tenn.

Junior Pete Nystrom (pictured) hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning to give Florida a 8-5 come-from-behind victory Saturday in the second game of the series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Florida improved to 30-17-1, 11-8-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

With the game tied at 5, Florida put runners on first and second on singles by Kurt Keene and Tim Olson in the top of the ninth inning. Nystrom then hit a 3-2 curveball from Joe Bertolino (4-3) over the left field fence for the game-winning home run. It marked Florida’s SEC-leading eighth win in its last at-bat this season.

Reliever Eddie Rojas pitched a perfect ninth to secure the win, improving his record to a 4-0 on the season. He pitched a career-high 6.2 innings, allowing just one run on three hits in relief of UF starter Jeff Cardozo. He also recorded a career-high six strikeouts.

“Eddie did a great job for us today,” said Head Coach Andy Lopez. “It was very similar to last night’s game, but tonight we got the better of it.”

Florida lost 5-4 in the series opener Friday on a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Early in the game, it looked like Florida was headed for a second loss in the series.

The Vols jumped out to a four-run advantage on Cardozo with two home runs and a pair of unearned runs in the first three innings. UT left fielder Ryan Moffett hit a home run with one out in the second inning to get Tennessee (34-16-1, 7-11 SEC) on the board. Jeff Baumtrog then singled, advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Kris Bennett reached on an error by Aaron Sobieraj, second baseman Chris Burke tripled to plate both runs for a 3-0 UT lead.

The Vols added a fourth run in the third on a solo home run by Jeff Christensen to leadoff the inning.

After leaving at least one runner on base in the first four innings, UF finally got on the board with two runs via a double by Keene, who went 4- for-4 on the night with two runs scored and two RBI. The Gators eventually loaded the bases in the inning before Tony Socarras struck out to end the inning and the threat.

Florida struck again in the sixth inning, scoring three runs to tie the game. Sobieraj reached base on hit by pitch, scoring when UT third baseman Kris Bennett threw the ball away on a grounder by Ryan Raburn. Raburn came around to score when the throw to the plate went in the Florida dugout. Jason Dill then singled home Keene, who had singled three batters later in the inning, to tie the game.

UF outfielder Tim Olson extended his hit streak to 29 games with a fourth inning single on a bouncer to third base. It is the fifth longest streak in Southeastern Conference history. He finished 2-for-5 on the night.

Florida and Tennessee play the final game of the series Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
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