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Saturday May 1, 1999Florida Pounds Vanderbilt 17-6

Nashville, TN

Florida used a consistent, explosive offensive attack to defeat Vanderbilt 17-6 at Greer Stadium to take its second consecutive game in the Southeastern Conference series. Florida (29-18, 11-12), which won its fourth consecutive game, scored runs in six consecutive innings and seven overall, including a eight-run sixth that broke open a close game. Vanderbilt dropped to 19-28, 6-17 in the SEC.

Right-hander Keith Brice got the win for Florida out of the bullpen, pitching 4.1 innings of relief for starter Sergio Rodriguez. He allowed two runs on six hits with three strikeouts.

Brice (7-3) held Vanderbilt in check after entering the game in the fifth with two Commodore runners on base with two outs. After walking the first batter faced to load the bases, Brice struck out Mark Prior to end the threat. Vanderbilt did not score again until Karl Nonemaker hit a solo home run in the ninth after the game was out of reach.

Eight of Florida’s starters got hits on the night. Seniors Mark Ellis and Greg Catalanotte led UF with four hits each, while combining for seven RBI on the night. Ryan Shealy, who hit a monster home run off the guitar-shaped scoreboard in left field to cap the big sixth inning, and Taylor Wood, who added to hit four-hit effort from Friday night, each had three hits in the game. Three other Gator players had two hits as Florida pounded out a season-high 23 hits on the night.

The key to Florida’s offensive night was its two-out production. All eight runs in the breakout sixth inning came after two outs were recorded in the inning and 11 total on the night came with two outs.

With the game still in question, Florida had eight consecutive batters reach base in the sixth all with two outs. Catalanotte and Pete Nystrom provided run-scoring singles that plated two runs apeice and Shealy added his sixth home run of the season with a runner aboard.

Early in the game, it looked like the two teams would trade the lead all night despite the final score. The two teams had traded the lead twice and had three ties over the first four innings before the Gators took the lead for good in the fifth.

Florida, which failed to score in the first, got on the board for the second consecutive night on a home run by Pete Nystrom, who hit a solo home run Friday night, with one out in the second inning. UF added a single run one inning later on a successful double steal with runners on first and third for the early 2-0 advantage.

Vanderbilt tied the score in the third inning, scoring two runs with the benefit of just one ball leaving the infield. DH Mark Prior led off with a single to center field, followed by three infield singles and a throwing error by Rodriguez to tie the game at 2. Threatening a big inning, the Gators survived without any further damage as the senior Rodriguez pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded situation.

Florida added a single run in the fourth on an RBI single by Taylor Wood for a brief lead before Vanderbilt posted two more runs in the bottom half of the inning. Trailing 4-3, the Gators then plated two more in the fifth on a run-scoring triple by Ellis, followed by a double by Kurt Keene to score Ellis as UF took the lead for good.

Overall, Florida scored 13 unanswered runs to build a 16-4 advantageThe two teams will play the final game of the three-game series Sunday at Noon at McGugin Field on the Vanderbilt campus.

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