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Friday March 29, 2002Auburn Rallies for 8-3 Baseball Win Over Florida

Gainesville, FL

No. 21/17/23 Auburn battled back from a 3-1 deficit with a five run sixth inning and used a 7.2 inning performance from starter Levale Speigner to claim an 8-3 victory over No. 9/6/7 Florida Friday before 3,486 at McKethan Stadium. The loss drops Florida to 22-6 overall and 4-3 in the SEC while Auburn improves to 21-8 overall and 5-2 in the SEC. The loss snapped Florida’s 10-game home win streak.

Trailing 3-1, Auburn scored five runs in the top of the sixth to take a 6-3 lead. Trent Pratt gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead in the sixth when he nailed a 2-2 pitch to the left field bleachers for a three-run home run. Bobby Huddleston (double) and Shawn Gamble (single) both scored on Pratt’s sixth home run of the year. Auburn went up 5-3 after Tug Hullet walked, Javon Moran reached base on an error and Doug Vines drove Hullet home on a RBI single. The Tigers loaded the bases on a walk to Jonathan Schuerholz and Ramshaw was replaced by David Bartelt. Bartelt walked Bobby Huddleston for the fifth run and a 6-3 Tiger lead.

Auburn starter Levale Speigner (6-2) earned the win on the mound after pitching 7.2 innings. He allowed seven hits, three runs (two earned runs) and struck out four Gators in 94 pitches. Reliever Cory Dueitt pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for his third save of the year.

The Tigers added two insurance runs and went up 8-3 in the top of the ninth on Tug Hullett’s two-RBI double to center field.

"You have to give Auburn a lot of credit tonight," Florida head coach Pat McMahon said. "Levale really pitched outstanding tonight. Auburn made some very good defensive plays. We came back and battled to a 3-1 lead. I’m proud of the way our guys competed. It will be an exciting rest of the series."

Florida went ahead 3-1 with two runs in the fifth. With one out, Pat Osborn singled and advanced to second base when Auburn centerfielder Javon Moran led the ball slip past him. Osborn advanced to third on Ben Harrison’s fly ball to right field then scored on Brian Rose’s RBI to left field. Rose advanced to third on Aaron Davidson’s double and scored on a passed ball.

Auburn took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Bobby Huddleston led off with a double, Scott Schade walked and Trent Pratt singled to load the bases. Chuck Jeroloman drew a bases loaded walk to score Huddleston from third base. Florida’s Mark Kiger tied it up at 1-1 as he led off the fourth inning with a solo home run over the left field fence.

Huddleston led Auburn with a 4-4, two double day. He also drove in a run and scored two runs. Pratt finished 2-5 with three RBI and Hulett drove in two RBI on his ninth inning hit. Florida was led by Mark Kiger’s 2-4 solo home run day.

Game two of the three-game series is Saturday at 4 p.m. Sunday’s game is at 1 p.m. and will be televised live on Sunshine Network with Mick Hubert and Nick Belmonte calling the action.

GAME NOTES

*Florida entered the game ranked among the nation’s top-10 schools in all three polls for the first time this season.

*Jimmy Ramshaw pitched 5.2 innings tonight. Combined, Florida’s three weekend starters- Ramshaw, Alex Hart and Keith Ramsey have pitched at least 5.0+ innings in 18 of 20 starts this season. Individually, Ramshaw has pitched at least 5.0+ innings in five of his six starts this season.

*Mark Kiger hit his 18th career home run this evening in the fourth inning. The home run was his 200th career hit and eighth season home run.

*Florida’s loss snapped a 10-game home win streak and UF fell to 19-3 at home this season.

--UF--

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