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Saturday April 20, 2002Baseball Holds Off Vanderbilt 8-7

Gainesville, FL

No. 14/13/11 Florida held off a ninth inning rally to register an 8-7 baseball victory against Vanderbilt Saturday at McKethan Stadium. Florida (10-7 SEC, 29-12) goes for its second SEC sweep of the season tomorrow against Vanderbilt (3-12 SEC, 17-17). Game tie is noon.

Florida broke a 3-3 tie and built a 7-3 lead with four runs in the fifth inning. Aaron Davidson led off with a walk, advanced to second on Mark Kiger’s sacrifice bunt, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Aaron Sobieraj’s ground out to put UF up 4-3. The scoring continued when Ryan Shealy drew a walk and scored Jeff Corsaletti’s first career triple over the centerfielder’s head. Pat Osborn blasted a two-run home run to right field to give UF its 7-3 advantage. Mark Kiger gave UF a 8-3 lead on a solo home run in the seventh inning.

But the 8-3 lead was not enough as Vanderbilt charged back to a one-run deficit at 8-7 with four runs in the eighth inning. After Sean Luellewitz led off with a double, Florida starter Alex Hart was replaced by Kevin Coleman. Coleman walked Cesar Nicolas walked and John Prothro’s double scored Luellewitz. John Kaye followed with his seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field. Coleman was then replaced by freshman Tommy Boss who retired two straight batters to get out of the inning.

With one out in the ninth inning, the Commodores put the potential tying run on base when center fielder Ben Harrison ran down a potential double and held Tony Mansolino to a single. But Boss struck out the final two batters to claim his first career save and secure the win for Florida.

"Teams in this league will always make runs at you," Florida head coach Pat McMahon said. "Vanderbilt did exactly that and hung in there, but we responded. Tommy Boss did a great job of competing and closing it down. It was great to see him compete. For a freshman in this league, it was great to see him do that for us."

Hart (9-1) pitched 7.1 innings and allowed seven hits, four runs and struck out five batters. Hart has now gone at least 6.0 innings in 10 of his 11 starts on the year. Tommy Boss pitched the final 1.2 innings for his first career save.

Down 3-0, Vanderbilt battled back to tie the game at 3-3 with a three-run fifth inning. John Kaye led off with a single, Chris Broadus followed with a single up the middle which Alex Hart stopped with his throwing hand and Carl Nonemaker followed with a two-RBI double down the left field line. After Tony Mansolino was hit by pitch, Nonemaker when Pat Osborn missed Brian Rose’s throw attempting to catch Nonemaker stealing at third base. The throw flew past Osborn and Nonemaker scored.

Two home runs in the first inning gave Florida a 3-0 lead. Aaron Davidson led off the game with a home run to left field and after Mark Kiger singled, Ryan Shealy blasted a shot off the scoreboard in right field for a two-run shot. It was Shealy’s 18th homer of the season and 33rd of his career. Shealy has now hit home runs in three consecutive games for the second time this season and has five home runs in the last six games.

GAME NOTES

*Florida has now won 13 of its last 14 matchups against Vanderbilt. It holds a 104-49-1 series advantage against Vanderbilt.

*Tommy Boss registered his first career save in pitching the final 1.2 innings.

*Ryan Shealy has hit five home runs in the last six games and one home run in each of the last three games. He needs a home run tomorrow to tie the school record for home runs in consecutive games. Jason Dill holds the record of four straight games with a home run (April 3-8, 1998). Shealy’s homer was the 18th of the year. The season school record is 23 set two times by Brad Wilkerson (1997 and 1998). It was the 33rd of his career and he now ranks fourth on UF’s all-time home run list. Mario Linares and Mark Ellis each hit 36 home runs and Brad Wilkerson holds the record with 55.

*Aaron Davidson led off the game with a home run. That marks the second time this season that UF has hit a home run in its first at bat. Mark Kiger also hit a homer to lead off the game against College of Charleston on March 13th.

*Mark Kiger hit his 19th career home run on a solo shot in the seventh inning. He needs just one more home run to become just the seventh player in UF baseball history to surpass the 20+ home run, 100+ RBI and 30+ steal barrier. Matt Goss accomplished that task Saturday when he stole his 30th base on a double steal. Along with Goss, the five other players to accomplish that record include Brad Wilkerson, Mark Ellis, Mike Stanley, Scott Ruskin and David Eckstein. All five have seen Major League Baseball action.

*Florida hit four home runs on the day. That brings the season total to 78 home runs which ranks tied for fourth on the all-time team season list. The school record is 132 in 1998. UF also hit 86 in 1997, 84 in 2000 and 78 in 1999.

*Alex Hart pitched 7 1/3 innings one the day. He has now lasted at least 6.0 innings in 10 of his 11 starts on theyear. He went 5 1/3 innings in his last start vs. Tennessee.

--UF--

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