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Wednesday March 20, 2002Baseball Wins 9th Straight, 9-1 Over Dartmouth

Gainesville, FL

Mario Garza hit two home runs and drove in career-high six runs in leading No. 6 Florida to its ninth consecutive win, a 9-1 victory against visiting Dartmouth Wednesday at McKethan Stadium. With the win, Florida improves to 20-3 overall (3-0) in the SEC while Dartmouth drops to 2-6 on the season. UF has now won nine straight games at home. The Big Green also dropped a 4-0 contest to Wright State earlier in the day at Bradenton.

Garza finished the evening with a career-high two home runs in a 4-5, six-RBI performance. His first home run, a two-run shot off the left field foul pole gave Florida a 5-0 lead in the fifth. On his next at bat in the seventh inning, he made it 7-1 Florida when he launched a shot off the batting cage for a two-run homer. Garza also drove in UF’s first run of the game on a double into the left field gap in the first and a RBI single in the second.

"From an offensive, defensive, pitching and fielding standpoint, tonight we played one of our better ballgames," Florida head coach Pat McMahon.

Florida grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Mark Kiger led off with a walk and scored on Garza’s double. The Gators went up 3-0 in the second when Brian Rose reached on a fielders choice and scored on Aaron Davidson’s bloop single to right field. Davidson stole second followed by Mark Kiger’s walk and Garza drove home on Davidson on a line drive single to left field. Garza put UF up on his first homer, a two-run shot off the left field foul pole. It was his sixth of the season. Garza made it 7-1 when he blasted a shot off the batting cage in right center field for his second homer of the night, another two-run shot. Dartmouth made it 5-1 in the top of the seventh when pinch hitter Derek Draper was hit by pitch, advanced to second on a ground out and scored on Mike Maleusnic’s RBI single up the middle.

Gator starter Mike Pete (3-0) allowed just one hit and no runs in throwing 39 pitches in 3.0 innings. Tommy Boss threw 2.0 innings and struck out the side in his first frame. Ben Hedgecock pitched 1.2 innings while Jamie Goldfarb (1.1 IP) and Kevin Coleman (1.0 IP) closed out the game). Dartmouth starter John Velosky (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season. He pitched 7.0 innings and gave up 10 hits, nine runs (nine ER), walked five and struck out two batters.

Florida is next in action this weekend when it travels to No. 5/4/4 South Carolina for a three-game SEC series. Game times are 7 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Friday’s game will be televised live by Comcast (not available locally) and Saturday’s game is the SEC-TV game of the week. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on Sunshine Network. All three games will be broadcast on the Gator Radio Network (850-AM in Gainesville).

GAME NOTES

*Florida won its ninth straight game and ninth straight at home. The Gators are now 18-2 at McKethan Stadium.

*Mario Garza hit a career-high two home runs and back-to-back home runs in consecutive games. He hit one in a pinch hit role last night and two two-run homers (first one off the left field foul pole and second one off the batting cage roof in right center field).

*Mario Garza drove in a career-high six RBI. The six RBI ties a UF team season-high.

*The game was the first-ever baseball meeting between Florida and Dartmouth.

*Florida has now finished with at least 10+ hits in 20 of 23 games this season.

*Over the last three games, Mark Kiger has reached base in 14 of 17 plate appearances including 10 walks.

*Ryan Shealy’s hit streak ended at 19-games. Shealy went 0-3 with a walk. He also had a 19-game hit streak last year.

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