Saturday February 8, 2003Offense Explodes as Baseball Defeats Mercer 22-2
In an impressive offensive outing, Florida defeated Mercer University 22-2 Saturday at McKethan Stadium to take the first two games of the three game series. The conclusion of the series will take place 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Gators used 19 hits and 10 walks to push across the 22 runs.
In his first Florida start sophomore junior college transfer Justin Hoyman was dominant as he picked up the win by throwing five innings, of three hit ball. Hoyman walked one and gave up two unearned runs. Lee Roberson, Pat Rumble and freshman Bryan Ball followed Hoyman to preserve the 20 run victory.
Florida exploded offensively for the second straight game as they pulled away from Mercer in the middle innings. C.J. Smith was 3-for-4 with five RBI, while Stephen Barton was 4-for-5 with five RBI and Mario Garza was 2-for-4with three RBI.
The Gators scored in six straight innings from the second to the seventh. In the second, Jeff Corsaletti had a RBI double to get the Gators on the board after Mario Garza singled and C.J. Smith walked. Jonathan Tucker followed with a single to bring in Smith. Justin Tordiís single scored Corsaletti and that was followed by a Matt Cresap double off the right field wall, which added another run. Stephen Barton cleared the bases with a triple, which gave the Gators a big 6-0 lead at the end of the sixth.
The Gators continued to roll with a single run in the third and then they opened up the game with a four-run fourth. Walks opened the floodgates in the inning as Brett Dowdy walked and came home on a Garza single and Smith drove two home with a lining double to left. The final run of the fourth scored on a wild pitch.
Mercer ended their scoring slump in the fifth. Kyle Johnson scored with the bases loaded when Jason Gaines was hit with a pitch. Their second run came off a ground ball out off the bat of Rico Duarte.
Florida scored five runs off of four hits to extend their lead to 16-2 in the fifth. Garza had a stand-up double to bring in Dowdy and Barton, while C.J. Smith hit his second home run in as many games.
In the sixth, Joe Mercadante led with a pinch hit double. He then scored on a Barton single. Pinch hitter Matt Maley scored on a Ben Harrison single then Barton scored on Jake Riordanís in-field single to end the three-run inning at 19-2.
The Gator scoring streak continued as Tordi was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh inning. Barton had an RBI single to score Tordi. Maley scored on a Fritz Reichert sacrifice fly and C.J. Smithís single scored Barton.
For Mercer, Andy Wells and Gaines had two hits.