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Saturday March 30, 2002Baseball Rallies for 9-5 Win Over Auburn

Gainesville, FL

No. 6 Florida battled back from a 5-0 deficit with nine unanswered runs and used Alex Hart’s 7.2-inning pitching performance to register a 9-5 decision against No. 17 Auburn Saturday at McKethan Stadium. Florida is now 5-3 in the SEC and 23-6 overall while Auburn drops to 5-3 in the SEC and 21-7 overall. UF’s win tied the series at 1-1. Game three of the three-game series is at 1 p.m. Sunday. The game will be broadcast live on Sunshine Network.

Hart (8-0) won his eighth consecutive game. He allowed five hits, five runs (three earned) and five walks in 7.2 innings pitched. He also struck out five batters in 123 total pitches (75 strikes). He shut down Auburn from the fifth through eighth innings and gave UF’s. Hart has now thrown at least 6.0+ innings in each of his eight starts on the season.

Florida took a 6-5 lead after it scored two runs while trailing 5-4 in the sixth inning. Aaron Davidson’s leadoff double down the left field line and a RBI single from Brian Rose to left field tied the game at 5-5. Rose then advanced to third base on a wild pitch and Mark Kiger single respectively. With Rose at third base, Auburn catcher Bobby Huddleston caught Aaron Sobieraj’s foul ball behind home plate, Kiger tagged at first base and began running toward second. Huddleston threw down to AU shortstop Jonathan Schuerholz at second base attempting to get Kiger but Rose bolted toward home. Schuerholz threw home in time to get Rose but Pratt dropped the throw enabling Sobieraj to score.

Down 5-0, Florida first got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning when Ryan Shealy launched a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence for a two-run home run, his 12th of the year. The Gators closed the deficit to one run at 5-4 with two more runs in the sixth inning. Ben Harrison led off with a single and advanced to second on Mark Kiger’s sacrifice bunt. Aaron Sobieraj’s single drove home Harrison from second and Ryan Shealy reached base on a error. Pat Osborn drove Sobieraj home from third on a single.

"We didn’t have a very good fourth inning," Florida head coach Pat McMahon said. "We let a big-run inning occur and got down 5-0. It was Ryan Shealy’s home run that really helped us. Now you feel like you can score. Now the game becomes fun. Then Alex Hart comes back after giving up four runs and gets out of the inning, 1-2-3. That was Alex’s best inning of the day, the fifth inning. We stopped their momentum at that point then chipped away at the lead."

Florida padded its lead with three runs in the seventh when Pat Osborn reached base on an error and advanced to second on Matt Goss’ walk. Aaron Davidson’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners up and Osborn scored on Brian Rose’s sacrifice fly. Pinch hitter Jeff Corsaletti drove Rose home on a double to right center field while Mark Kiger and Aaron Sobieraj (RBI) each followed with singles.

Auburn rallied for a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning with four runs. Trent Pratt’s two run homer to left field gave the Tigers their first two runs, Tug Hulett followed with a walk and scored on a Gator throwing error after Sean Gamble’s single to right field. Javon Moran’s sacrifice fly scored Gamble from third base. Auburn grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jonathan Schuerholz reached base on a misjudged fly ball and scored on Doug Vines’ RBI double.

Auburn reliever Arnold Hughey (1-1) took the loss after pitching 0.1 inning and allowing two hits and two runs (one earned). Starter Eric Brandon went the first 4.2 innings and allowed six hits and four runs (three earned).

GAME NOTES

*Alex Hart pitched 7.2 innings today. Combined, Florida’s three weekend starters- Jimmy Ramshaw, Hart and Keith Ramsey have pitched at least 5.0+ innings in 19 of 21 starts this season. Individually, Hart has pitched at least 6.0+ innings in each of his eight starts on the year.

*Hart won his eighth consecutive game in a row. The eight straight wins ranks tied for second on UF’s all-time consecutive victories list with Darren McClellan (1995), Scott Ruskin (1985) and Jim Courier (1969). Russ Kibler holds the record for consecutive victories with 11 in 1984.

*Ryan Shealy has now hit nine home runs in the last 11 games. Shealy’s 12 homers are more than any UF player hit in 62 games last season (Matt Goss led the Gators with 11 home runs in 2001).

*Matt Goss extended his hit streak to team leading eight consecutive games.

--UF--

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