Sunday April 27, 2003Baseball Pulls Ahead In East With 14-6 Victory
Matt Graziano hit a big three-run homer and finished with four RBI as the Gators won 14-6.
The University of Florida baseball team (31-12-1, 10-10-1 SEC) won their fourth conference series of the season as they took game three 14-6 from Mississippi State (30-12-1, 12-8 SEC) Sunday afternoon in front of 2,638 fans at McKethan Stadium. Florida took over first place in the SEC Eastern Division as South Carolina dropped two of three games to Ole Miss.
Florida took control of the game with a six run second inning and then pulled away with seven runs in the final four innings. Matt Graziano had his best day of the season at the plate as he finished 3-for-4 with four RBI and hit a key home run. Jeff Corsaletti drove in three runs on a pair of hits while three others each drove in two runs to give starting pitcher Justin Hoyman a large cushion.
Hoyman went eight or more innings for the fifth time in six games as he picked up the win to improve to 7-3. Hoyman would give up 11 hits and six runs (five earned) with one walk and seven strikeouts over his eight innings of work. Connor Falkenbach would pitch a perfect final inning.
The Gators exploded for six runs in the second inning, highlighted by the three-run homerun by Graziano. The inning began with a single by C.J. Smith to right field. Brian Rose then reached first base after the Bulldog’s third baseman overthrew the ball to first base. Corsaletti then doubled to left field to score the Gators first two runs. Fritz Reichardt reached on a sacrifice bunt after the ball was overthrown. Graziano then hit a homerun to left field to make the score 5-0 in favor of the Gators. Lee Roberson singled in the final run of the inning as he scored Justin Tordi who walked and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice.
Florida would add needed insurance runs as they tacked on runs in three consecutive innings from the sixth to the eighth. The Gators scored two more runs in the sixth inning as Harrison hit a two-run shot to left field. Graziano began the inning with a single up the middle, but was called out after Tordi reached first base on a fielder’s choice. Brett Dowdy led off the seventh with a hit by a pitch. He later moved up two bases on a Brian Rose single and came home on a Corsaletti infield hit.
Mississippi State did cut into the early 6-0 lead with a pair of runs in the third and one in the fourth. In the third Thomas Berkery got on base after a bunt and then Matthew Maniscalco singled to center field. Steve Gendron singled to right to score Berkery for the Bulldogs first run of the game. Brad Corley reached base on a fielder’s choice, but knocked in Maniscalco on the play. The Bulldogs scored one more run in the fourth inning after Craig Tatum doubled to right and scored after Berkery grounded out.
The Gators would put the game out of reach with five more runs in the eighth. With two outs, Roberson singled up the middle. Dowdy and Smith followed with back-to-back doubles and Smith’s scored two more runs. Jake Riordan had a two RBI single to extend the inning and Graziano followed with an RBI single which completed the scoring for the Gators.
Bulldog starter Todd Nicholas took the loss on the mound as he did not make it out of the second inning in dropping to 4-2 on the season. He was pulled after all five hitters he faced in the second reached base. The Gators would touch up four more Mississippi State pitchers for nine runs.
Matt Brinson added an RBI single in the seventh for the Bulldogs, while a two-run homer by Matthew Maniscalco added two more runs for Mississippi State in the eighth. The Bulldogs would finish with 11 hits in the game but were hurt by three errrors.