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Saturday May 11, 2002Baseball Rolls Past LSU 6-3

Gainesville, FL

Alex Hart became the SEC’s first 12-game winner as he pitched a career-high 8.2-inning outing as No. 8/8/10 Florida rolled to a 6-2 victory Saturday against No. 21/25/20 LSU at McKethan Stadium. The win improves Florida to 17-9 in the SEC and 37-14 overall. The Gators are now a half-game behind South Carolina (17-8 SEC, 38-12 overall) in the SEC Eastern Division. South Carolina lost 8-7 to Tennessee. LSU is now 15-10 in the SEC and 34-17 overall. Game three of the three-game series is tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game will be televised live on Jumbo Sports Network (not locally in Florida).

Hart (12-1) registered career-highs for strikeouts (nine) and innings pitched (8.2) as he held LSU to five hits, three runs (two earned). The six-foot-five junior righthander became the first UF pitcher to win at least 12+ games since Marc Valdes won 13 in 1991. The 12 wins rank tied for third on UF’s all-time season wins list. Hart has now pitched at least 5.0+ innings in each of his 14 starts this season and at least 6.0+ innings in 12 of his 14 starts. He retired 14 consecutive batters from the third through the seventh innings. That ranks sixth on UF’s all-time consecutive batters retired list.

"Alex really pulled our club through today," Florida head coach Pat McMahon said. "He did what he had to do. He threw the ball in the strikezone and really battled. With the number of pitches early on in the day, he really found a way to get to the ninth inning."

LSU took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Wally Pontiff’s RBI double and Sean Barker’s sacrifice fly. Pontiff drove home J.C. Holt from second base after Holt and Aaron Hill drew consecutive walks. Hill scored on Barker’s sacrifice fly to right field. The Gators quickly battled back to tie 2-2 when Aaron Davidson launched a home run to right field for a two-run home run in the second inning.

Pat Osborn gave Florida a 4-2 lead in the third inning when he hit his 13th homer of the year to right field. Aaron Sobieraj reached base on a single and Osborn sent an 0-2 pitch over the right field fence for his sixth opposite field homer of the season.

The Gators added two more in the seventh and took a 6-2 lead when Matt Goss drilled a double down the right field line to score two runs. The double was Goss’ team-leading 14th of the season and scored Mark Kiger from third and Pat Osborn from second base. Kiger and Osborn both advanced one base on a wild pitch.

LSU added a run in the ninth off Hart on an error but Jamie Goldfarb got the final out for his fourth save of the year. LSU starter Brian Wilson (7-4) took the loss after throwing 6.1 innings and allowing six runs and four walks.

Aaron Sobieraj led UF at the plate with three hits. Matt Goss finished with two hits and two RBI and Aaron Davidson added two hits including his home run.

GAME NOTES

*Alex Hart became the first SEC pitcher to win 12 games and the first pitcher at UF to win 12 games since Marc Valdes won 13 in 1991. Hart now ranks tied for third on UF’s all-time season wins list. Three other pitchers including- Doug Corbett (1974), Russ Kibler (1984) and Johnny Wiggs (1989) each won 12 games in their respective seasons. The school record is 16 wins held by Jeff Gidcumb in 1998. Marc Valdes won 13 games in 1991.

*Alex Hart pitched a career-high 8.2 innings and struck out a career-high nine batters. has now pitched at least 5.0+ innings in each of his 14 starts this season and at least 6.0+ innings in 12 of his 14 starts. Hart retired 14 consecutive batters from the third through the seventh innings. That ranks sixth on UF’s all-time consecutive batters retired list.

*Pat Osborn is now on a 19-game hit streak. That ties for the longest hit streak of the season (Ryan Shealy had a 19-game hit streak earlier in the year). He hit his 13th homer of the year and his sixth opposite field homer of the season.

*Mark Kiger extended his hit streak to 12 games with a hit in the eight inning.

*With its win, Florida snapped a six-game LSU win streak in the series.

*Florida has now won 11 of its last 13 games and nine of its last 11 SEC games.

--UF--

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