Saturday May 4, 2002Baseball Downs Mississippi State 5-3
No. 10/11/12 Florida used a combined pitching performance from Alex Hart and Jamie Goldfarb to register a 5-3 baseball decision over Mississippi State Saturday before 6,324 at Dudy Noble Field. The Gators have now won the first two of a three-game series heading into the final contest of the three-game SEC series. Game three is Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Florida is now 34-13 overall and 15-8 in the SEC while Mississippi State drops to 27-18-1 overall and 11-11 in the SEC.
Florida starter Alex Hart (11-1) became the first SEC pitcher to reach 11 wins as he pitched the first 5.0 innings and struck out a career-high tying seven batters. He allowed just three hits, two runs (both earned) and walked three batters. Hart retired his first 11 batters faced in the game before a two-out Matthew Brinson single in the fourth inning. Hart gave way to reliever Jamie Goldfarb in the fifth inning after surrendering a leadoff walk to Matthew Brinson. Goldfarb went the final 4.0 innings for his fourth save of the year. He allowed just one hit and one run (unearned) while striking out three. Goldfarb registered the final three outs of the sixth inning then set down MSU 1-2-3 in both the seventh and eighth innings.
Trailing 5-2, Mississippi State battled back in the ninth inning. Steve Gendron reached first on an error and Joe Mungle nailed a shot over Matt Goss’ head in right field for a double. With runners at second and third, Gendron scored from third when Goss made a diving catch on Jason Burkley’s sacrifice fly to right field. The Gators registered the second out when Pat Osborn fielded a ground ball and tagged out Mungle advancing to third base. Goldfarb got Matthew Maniscalco to line out to Mark Kiger to end the game.
Florida’s offense rolled in the first inning as it scored three runs with two outs. Mark Kiger led off with a single up the middle, Matt Goss walked and Ryan Shealy drove Kiger in on a single to left field. Jeff Corsaletti walked to load the bases for Pat Osborn who punched a single through the gap between first and second for a two-RBI single and 3-0 Gator lead. MSU starter Tanner Brock needed 37 pitches to get through the first frame.
Mississippi State finally got to Hart in the fifth inning as it scored two runs and threatened for more. Steve Gendron led off with a single, stole second and Jason Burkley walked. With two outs, Casey Long hit a shot back off Hart’s leg on the mound. Hart picked up the ball and overthrew Ryan Shealy at first base while Gendron scored from second base. A wild pitch scored Burkley from third base but Hart struck out Chad Henry to end the inning with runners at second and third.
The Gators went up 5-2 and added two runs in the eighth as they took advantage of Mario Garza’s two-out two RBI single to right field. Matt Goss and Ryan Shealy hit consecutive singles followed by Ben Harrison’s fielders choice. A walk to Brian Rose loaded the bases and Garza drilled a 0-0 pitch to right field for a two-RBI single and 5-2 Gator lead. Mark Kiger walked to load the bases again but Aaron Davidson flew out to deep left field to end the inning.
Mississippi State starter Tanner Brock (6-4) took the loss after pitching the first 7.0 innings. He struck out four batters and allowed seven hits and five runs on the day.
Game three of the three-game series is Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
*Alex Hart became the first pitcher to win 11 games in a season since Brad Wilkerson in 1997. Hart finished with a season-high and tied a career-high with seven strikeouts.
*Alex Hart retired his first 11 batters to start the game. The 11 batters retired to start the game ranks tied for fourth on the all-time list. Hart owns the record after he retired 15 consecutive batters to start the Charleston Southern game on Feb. 3, 2002.
*Florida has gone homerless in its last three games, its longest homerless streak on the season.
*Jamie Goldfarb registered his fourth save of the year. Florida relievers have now notched saves in eight of its last nine games.
*The last time Florida swept Mississippi State in a three-game series in Starkville was in 1997.