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Ben Harrison hit a grand slam in the fourth propel the Gators to victory.

Wednesday April 23, 2003Baseball Holds On For Win In Slugfest 11-8

Gainesville, FL

Ben Harrison hit a grand slam in the fourth propel the Gators to victory.

A five-run fourth inning highlighted by a Ben Harrison grand slam helped lift the University of Florida baseball team (29-12-1) to a 11-8 victory over Jacksonville State (Ala.) Wednesday evening. It was the 21st non-conference win of the season for the Gators. UF will host SEC foe Mississippi State in a key league series this weekend at McKethan Stadium.

The Gators scored in three straight innings from the second to the fourth and used the fourth to seize the lead for good. The first eight batters in the inning reached base as the Gators used three hits, three walks, an error and a hit by pitch to score five runs.

In the inning, Jonathan Tucker reached on an error and Jeff Corsaletti walked setting up a Brett Dowdy RBI double. In the next at bat, C.J. Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jacksonville State made a pitching change and Ben Harrison didnít waste any time as he took the first offering from reliever Josh Nix and hit the second grand slam of his career to make the score 10-6. Nix was in relief of Danny Andres who took the loss as he gave up three earned runs and two hits in just a third of an inning.

Jacksonville State struck early as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead with one run in the first and two more in the second. In the first, Kerri Fair singled to right field and then stole second. Bobby Hicks drove in the first run of the ball game with a single to center field. Brian Haskins opened up the second with a solo homerun over the left field bleachers to double the lead to 2-0. The Gamecocks added a third run in the second as B.J. Burns and Shundell Russaw drew back-to-back walks. Florida starter Bryan Ball was then pulled for reliever Mike Pete.

Ball would go 1.2 innings and give up three runs and four hits with two walks and one strikeout. With Pete in the game Fair drove in a run with a single through the left side of the infield. Pete picked up the win in the game after going 2.1 innings and giving up six hits and three runs with three strikeouts. He improved to 3-1 with the victory. Reliever Conner Falkenbach recorded the save after pitching the final 1.1 innings and giving up one hit with two strikeouts.

The Gators used five straight singles in the second to tie the game at three. The rally began with a Ben Harrison single to leftfield, which was followed by a Brian Rose single to center. Lee Robersonís single scored Harrison and got the Gators on the board. Matt Graziano added a RBI single to left that brought home Rose. After Roberson advanced to third on a wild pitch, Jonathan Tuckerís RBI single to left tied the game.

Florida took their first lead of the game 5-3 as they pushed two runs across in the third with two outs. Smith doubled and Harrison drew a walk to put two runners aboard. After the second out of the inning, Roberson drew a walk to load the bases and shortstop Matt Graziano made the Gamecocks pay as his single up the middle scored both Harrison and Smith.

The Gamecocks reclaimed the lead in the fourth. Two Gamecocks started the fourth with consecutive singles. Burns tripled which scored two runners and tied the game at five. A Fair single scored Burns giving the Gamecocks their final lead of the game 6-5.

After three scoreless innings for both teams, Jacksonville State added two runs in the eighth to tighten the game. Fair and Ruckdeschel reached on errors and both later scored on base hits.

The Gators added a run of in the eighth after an RBI double from Roberson. Roberson finished 3-for-3 with two RBI while Graziano, Harrison and Dowdy all had two hits.

Brian Haskins went 4-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI while Fair added three hits and two RBI for Jacksonville State.

NOTES

  • Ben Harrisonís hit streak was extended to nine in with his single in the second inning.
  • Florida has won 17 straight non-SEC home games.
  • The Gators are now 27-4 (.871) at McKethan Stadium this season and 59-13 in the Pat McMahon era.
  • Florida has now won three in a row and five of their last six games.
  • The Gators hit a home run for the fifth time in their last five games and in their 26th game of 2003.
  • This was the first ever meeting between the two clubs.

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