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Saturday May 25, 2002Alabama Holds on to Defeat Baseball 11-9

Hoover, AL

Alabama turned a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat No. 11/11/14 Florida 11-9 Saturday at the SEC Baseball Tournament at Hoover-Metropolitan Stadium. With the win, Alabama (47-13) advances to the SEC Tournament Championship game against the winner of the South Carolina-LSU game. Florida (43-17) is eliminated from the SEC Tournament. The 2002 NCAA Baseball Regional and site selection telecast will be broadcast Monday on ESPN2 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Trailing 11-7, Florida rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning. Ryan Shealy and Jeff Corsaletti both singled. The duo advanced on a balk and Aaron Sobieraj reached on a ground ball turned error that scored Shealy from third. A walk to Matt Maley loaded the bases and Alabama replaced reliever Brian Reed with Jeffrey Norris. On the first pitch to UF’s Matt Goss, Norris got him to ground into a 1-2-3 double play to end the contest.

"I’m extremely proud of our ballclub and the way they battled back," Florida head coach Pat McMahon said. "We showed outstanding character as a ballclub today. After today and our five games at the tournament, you can see what’s in the hearts of these young men. Alabama played outstanding defense. You have to give them a lot of credit."

The game saw four lead changes and two ties as the two teams played for an SEC Championship Game berth.

Down 8-7, Alabama grabbed the lead in the sixth when it scored four runs to lead 11-7. Travis Garner singled, stole second and scored on Peter Stonard’s RBI double. Stonard scored from third on an error on Jeremy Brown’s ground ball. Scott McClanahan hit a two-RBI home run to left field for the Crimson Tide’s lead.

Florida took an 8-7 lead with a run in the fifth inning, taking advantage of a throwing error to score a run. The Gators proceeded to load the bases but Alabama reliever Brian Reed got out of the jam with a fly out and ground out.

Alabama got on the board in the first inning when Jeremy Brown hit a two-RBI home run to left field following Travis Garner’s single. But the Gators battled back to tie at 2-2 when Ben Harrison nailed a shot over the left field fence for a two-run home run in the second inning.

Florida tied the game at 2-2 with two runs in the second inning when Ben Harrison launched his second home run of the SEC Tournament, a shot down the left field line. The Gators grabbed the lead and went up 7-2 with a five-run third inning. Matt Goss reached base on a single, then scored when Mark Kiger advanced to third on a bunt single and throwing error. Aaron Davidson drove Kiger home on a double to center field. After Davidson stole third, Ryan Shealy drove him in on a double which chased Alabama starter Jared Woodward. Shealy scored on Ben Harrison’s RBI triple to center field. Pinch hitter David Klebonis followed with a RBI single for a 7-2 Gator lead.

But Alabama rallied back to tie at 7-7 with a five-run fourth inning fueled by back-to-back home runs from Travis Garner (grand slam) and Peter Stonard (solo shot). The Crimson Tide loaded the bases on Brent Boyd’s double, Chad White’s single and Adam Pavkovich’s walk. Garner hit a 1-2 pitch over the fence in left field for a grand slam. Alabama tied the game at 7-7 when Stonard followed with a solo homer to right field.

Ryan Shealy led the Gators offensively with a career-high 4-5, three-run day. Ben Harrison added a home run, triple and double in a 3-4, three RBI performance.

GAME NOTES

*Ryan Shealy finished with a career-high four hits.

*Ben Harrison finished 3-3, a single shy of hitting for the cycle (HR, 2B, 3B).

*With the win earlier today, Florida head coach Pat McMahon won a season-high 43 games as a head coach. His previous high win total was 42 on two different occasions- 42 in his first year at Mississippi State in 1998 and 42 in 1999.

*Florida and Alabama met for the sixth time this season.

*Florida starter David Bartelt is making just his second start of the season.

*Ben Harrison’s second inning home run was Florida’s 100th of the season. Prior to this season, only one team in Gator baseball history hit more than 100 home runs in a season (132 in 1998).

*Once again, Florida registered 10+ hits. UF has put together 42 10+ hit games this season which ranks as the fourth all-time best season at UF.

*With the loss, Florida has lost just five of its last 22 contests.

*Florida head coach Pat McMahon is attempting to become the only coach in SEC baseball history to lead two different schools to the SEC Tournament Championship Game in consecutive years.

*In 14 of Florida’s 17 losses this season, the Gators had the tying winning run on deck or at the plate.

--UF--

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