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Saturday February 2, 2002Baseball Defeats Charleston Southern 25-1

Gainesville, FL

The Pat McMahon era and the 88th Gator baseball season began Saturday as Florida took advantage of a school-record 29 hits to register a 25-1 victory against Charleston Southern at McKethan Stadium. McMahon was coaching in his first Gator baseball game.

Florida’s 29 hits surpassed the previous game hits record of 28 hits set on Feb. 9, 1996 vs. Georgia State. The Gators also set a school-record for most at bats in a game with 52, surpassing the former mark of 51 set vs. Kentucky on April 4, 1998. In addition, Florida set its school record for most runs scored on opening day, surpassing the previous mark of 20 runs scored vs. Georgia in a 20-7 win in 1953.

Outfielder Ben Harrison led Florida’s 29-hit assault with a school-record tying and career-high five hits. The sophomore finished 5-6 with four runs scored, two RBI, a home run and double, just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Also registering multi-hit performances included David Klebonis (3-4, 2 RBI), Ryan Shealy (3-5, two runs), Brian Rose (3-4, three runs, three RBI, HR), Matt Goss (2-3, 3 RBI, two runs), Aaron Sobieraj (3-3, 2 RBI, HR) and catcher Joe Mercadante (2-2, five RBI), who hit a grand slam in the eighth inning.

Florida finished the day with five home runs and five doubles. Fifteen of the 16 players receiving at bats finished with a hit for the Gators.

"We took some quality swings and had some quality at bats," McMahon said. "We hit some balls real hard and even some of the balls that we hit for outs were hit hard."

Pitcher Keith Ramsey (1-0) earned the victory on the mound after allowing three hits and one run in 5.0 innings and 74 pitches. It was his first career start. Also seeing action for the Gators included senior Kevin Coleman (2.0 IP), Matt Bomeisl (1.0 IP) and Scot Drucker (1.0 IP). Gator pitchers limited the Buccaneers to six hits and two bases on balls while striking out 10 batters. Charleston Southern starter Andrew Viars (0-1) took the loss after surrendering 10 hits and 10 runs in 2.2 innings pitched.

First baseman Ryan Shealy also became just the third playing in UF history since 1984 to start four consecutive opening days.

Florida completes its two-game series tomorrow against Charleston Southern beginning at 1 p.m. at McKethan Stadium.

--UF--

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