The Florida baseball team (46-18) extended its life on a walk-off home run
by Mark Kiger in the bottom of the tenth inning to defeat the Miami
Hurricanes (32-27) 11-10 in NCAA Regional play at McKethan Stadium in
Gainesville, Fla. The win ensures a seventh game for the Regional
Championship that will begin at 5 p.m. today.
Miami set the pace of the game in the top of the first inning. With two
outs and a runner on, Hurricane catcher Danny Matienzo knocked a home run
out in centerfield for the 2-0 lead.
The Gators answered back in the same fashion in the bottom of the second.
With only one out and Ben Harrison on first, Aaron Sobieraj knocked one
over the left field bleachers to tie the game at two. But the Gators
continued where the Canes left off in the first. Jonathan Tucker followed
with a bunt single that hugged the third base line. Brian Rose reached
base on balls. Mark Kiger grabbed a pitch for a base hit into right field
to score Tucker for the lead. Mario Garza was hit by a Troy Roberson pitch
to load the bases. Pat Osborn recorded his 100th hit of the season with a
double to left field to score Rose and Kiger. Osborn became the second
Gator this season and the fourth in school history to record 100 or more
hits in a season. Miami pitcher Roberson was replaced by reliever T.J.
Prunty. Ryan Shealy set the school record for total bases with his RBI
single to score Garza and give the Gators the 6-2 lead.
Matienzo's single and third RBI of the day in the third inning helped
Miami to another run and narrowed the Gator lead to three runs at 6-3.
Miami brought the Florida lead to just one run in the top of the fourth.
With one out, Kevin Mannix started a rally with a base hit. Danny Figueroa
followed with a bunt single Mannix advanced to third on a Paco Figueroa
fly out to right field. Danny Figueroa stole second to out runners on
second and third lead as with two outs for Brad Safchik's two RBI single
through the left side. Florida was able to keep its 6-5 lead as catcher
Rose caught Safchik attempting to steal second for the third out of the
Florida increased its lead to two runs in the fourth. Garza scored on an
error by Miami thirdbaseman Kevin Howard for the 7-5 lead.
Sobieraj hit his second home run of the game with a lead off homer to left
field in the bottom of the fifth to give Florida a three-run cushion.
Pat Osborn's third hit of the day was a home run just over the wall in
left center for a 9-5 Florida lead.
Miami brought Florida's lead back to just three in the top of the eighth.
Matt Dryer scored on the Kevin Mannix double down the left field line to
make the score 9-6.
Pat Osborn's sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to score Mark Kiger took
Florida's lead back to four runs at 10-6.
Miami put up a fight in the top of the ninth. With two outs, three
straight singles scored Rodriguez to take Florida's lead down to three
runs with two runners on. Jim Burt, who was 0-for-4 on the day hit a three
run homer to tie the game at 10-10. Keith Ramsey came in to finish the
inning for Kevin Coleman.
It looked like Florida would take care of business in the bottom of the
inning, but great Miami defense prevented the run. With one out, Sobieraj
walked. Tucker followed with a double to left center field and Sabieraj
held up at third. Rose walked to load the bases. Jeff Corsaletti pinch hit
for Jake Riordan, but hit into a double play to end the inning and send
the game into extra innings.
The Gators did their job defensively in the top of the tenth and sat down
the batters in order. Lead off batter, Kiger hit the walk off home run on
a 1-2 pitch for the 11-10 win.
The last pitcher for each team was the pitcher of record. George Huguet
took the loss for Miami. His record moves to 6-4. Keith Ramsey got the win
for Florida. His record improves to 10-3.
The two teams face off again at 5 p.m. today for the Regional
championship. The winner will advance to play the winner of the regional
in South Carolina in next weekend's best of three Super Regional.