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Saturday May 6, 2000MSU Downs Florida Baseball in Opener

Starkville, Miss.

Mississippi State jumped out for eight runs in the first two innings off SEC Pitcher of the Week Mike Smalley en route to a 20-2 victory in the Southeastern Conference series opener at Dudy Noble Field. It was the largest SEC loss in Florida school history and second-largest margin in a loss since UF lost by 22 runs to Clemson in 1974.

“It was a rough game,” said Head Coach Andy Lopez. “We did not get a good performance out of Mike Smalley. Mississippi State has scored 40 runs in the last two games. Hopefully, they have finished scoring for the weekend.”

Mississippi State defeated Samford 20-7 on Wednesday.

Smalley (4-7) got roughed up from the start of the game, giving up back-to- back singles in the bottom of the first inning to Shane Kelly and Ryan McGrath. Third baseman Travis Chapman then hit a three-run home run to left field for a 3-0 lead.

The Bulldogs knocked Smalley out of the game with two outs in the second after scoring five more runs. MSU scored the fourth run on ground out and added another on a run-scoring single by Chapman. After MSU loaded the bases with a walk, former Gator Ty Martin hit a bases-clearing double down the left field line for an 8-0 lead.

MSU added a single run off reliever Jay Belflower in the fourth inning, two off Kenny Birch in the sixth, six off K.O. Wiegandt in the seventh and three on Aaron Sobieraj in the eighth inning.

Left-hander Kevin Donovan held Florida scoreless, allowing just six hits over seven innings. Donovan (5-3) pitched out of potential threats in both the fourth and fifth innings, striking two batters out in each inning after UF had put runners in scoring position.

Florida left 10 runners on base in the game, scoring just two runs on 10 hits. The Bulldogs finished with 18 hits on the night on five UF pitchers.

The Gators avoided posting the worst shutout victory in school history with a run in the eighth inning. Mark Kiger got an infield single to start the inning and Kurt Keene followed one batter later with a double to the wall in center field for the first UF run of the game. The Gators eventually loaded the bases only to have Pete Nystrom ground into a double play.

Florida added a run in the ninth off Ryan Carroll for the final margin.
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