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Sunday May 7, 2000Gator Baseball Defeats MSU in 11 Innings

Starkville, Miss.

Adam Larson’s wild pitch with the bases loaded in the 11th inning helped Florida to a 9-6 win over seventh-ranked Mississippi State Saturday at Dudy Noble Field. Florida, which lost by the second-largest margin in school history Friday, improved to 34-19-1, 15-10-1 in SEC play.

It marked Florida’s 12th last at-bat win of the season and 21st come-from- behind effort, dropping MSU to 35-12.

Senior Kurt Keene, who recorded his 300th career hit earlier in the night, doubled to start off the 11th inning. After an infield single by Tim Olson, stolen base and intentional walk to Pete Nystrom loaded the bases, Larson’s first pitch to Tony Socarras got past catcher Ryan McGrath to score Keene. Larson put Socarras on base via an intentional walk. UF increased its lead to 9-6 on a sacrifice fly by Matt Heath and single by Kevin Estrada.

Jay Belflower picked up the win in relief of starter Jeff Cardozo, holding the Bulldogs scoreless on five hits with five strikeouts over four innings. He pitched out of bases loaded situation with two outs in the 10th inning to setup the game-winning inning.

“Jay did a great job tonight,” said Head Coach Andy Lopez. “He showed a lot of maturity on the mound, pitching in some tough situations.”

After dropping a 20-2 decision Friday to the Bulldogs, MSU jumped out again on Florida, scoring in each of the first three innings for an early advantage. MSU center fielder Shane Kelly hit a leadoff home run off Cardozo in the first. Matt Maniscalo’s RBI single in the second inning scored the second run and back-to-back-back doubles in the third produced two more runs as MSU led 4-1.

UF loaded the bases in the third on a single by Mark Kiger and two walks. Jason Dill followed with a single off reliever Chris Young. Young bounced back, striking out Tim Olson and getting Pete Nystrom to fly out to end the threat.

In the fourth inning, Tony Socarras doubled and scored on an infield error two batters later. UF then posted a three-run fifth inning highlighted by a two-run home run by Nystrom and run-scoring single by Kevin Estrada as Florida took a 5-4 lead.

UF extended the lead to 6-4 in 8th inning only to have the two-run lead erased by the Bulldogs. MSU knocked starter Jeff Cardozo out with back-to- back hits in the eighth that led to the game-tying runs. The game remained tied until the decisive 11th inning.

The two schools will play the final game of the series Sunday at 2:30 p.m. It can be heard on WRUF-AM 850 starting at 2:20 p.m. and seen on the Sunshine Network.

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