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Sunday March 24, 2002Baseball Drops 6-4 Decision at South Carolina

Columbia, S.C.

No. 4 South Carolina built a 5-2 lead and held on for a 6-4 baseball victory Sunday against No. 6 Florida at Sarge-Frye Field. The loss drops Florida to 4-2 in the SEC and 21-5 overall while South Carolina improves to 4-2 in the SEC and 21-4 overall.

Gator starter Keith Ramsey (3-1) took the loss after pitching 6.0 innings. He allowed six hits, four earned runs and walked three batters and also struck out five Gamecocks and threw 94 pitches. USC starter Steve Bondurant (3-0) earned the win after allowing seven hits and two runs. Blake Taylor earned his sixth save of the season after pitching the final 2.1 innings.

South Carolina took a 5-2 lead as it scored two more runs without hitting a single ball out of the infield in the seventh inning. Holding a 3-2 lead, South Carolina put runners on second and third base in the fram after Ramsey walked leadoff hitter Landon Powell and reliever Jamie Goldfarb gave up a bunt single to Jon Coutlangus. Drew Meyer moved both runners up on a sacrifice bunt. UF reliever Kevin Coleman replaced Goldfarb and Steve Thomas loaded the bases on a single in which UF’s Pat Osborn’s diving play at third base prevented a run from scoring. Coleman struck out Justin Harris and pitched to an 0-2 count against Yaron Peters but yielded a bases loaded walk after he threw four straight balls. A Garris Gonce chopped single drove in the second run when Coleman tried to field the ball and throw to first base.

Florida battled back to a 5-4 deficit with two runs in the eighth inning. The Gators loaded the bases with one out on singles by Aaron Sobieraj and Matt Goss and a Ryan Shealy walk. After Taylor struck out Harrison, Pat Osborn laced a 2-0 pitch into right center field for a two-RBI double. Taylor struck out Rose to end the inning.

South Carolina went up 6-4 on an insurance run in the eighth on Landon Powell’s solo home run to left field.

"We had so many opportunities today," Florida head coach Pat McMahon said. "They did a good job of gaining the momentum right out the gate. We made a late run but we couldn’t close things down. They did a good job of keeping the lead."

South Carolina went up 2-0 in the first inning when it took advantage of a Drew Meyer single, a Steve Thomas RBI double and a passed ball on Justin Harris’ swinging strikeout to go up 2-0. Florida’s Ryan Shealy cut the lead to 2-1 in the second on a solo home run to straightaway center field. USC’s Trey Dyson gave the Gamecocks a 3-1 lead on a solo home run to right field in the second inning.

Florida battled back to a one-run margin at 3-2 with a run in the seventh. With two outs, Jonathan Tucker laced a 2-1 pitch to the fence for a double. Bondurant was replaced by USC reliever Blake Taylor after he threw two balls to Mark Kiger. Kiger then drove Tucker home on a single to left field, but was thrown out attempting to advance to second base.

Florida is next in action Tuesday evening against Army. Game time is 6:30 p.m. at McKethan Stadium.

GAME NOTES

*Mark Kiger tied a career-high with four hits.

*Ryan Shealy hit his 25th career and ninth season home run to straightaway centerfield in the second inning. Shealy also hit home runs in back-to-back games and back-to-back at bats (last at bat last night and first at bat today). Earlier this season he hit home runs in three consecutive at bats.

*Jonathan Tucker hit the first double of his career, a shot off the wall in left field in the seventh inning.

--UF--

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