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Brian Jeroloman hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Gators a 5-3 victory over Northwestern.

Saturday February 28, 2004Jeroloman Slam Leads Baseball to 5-3 Victory

Gainesville, FL

Brian Jeroloman hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Gators a 5-3 victory over Northwestern.

A walk-off grand slam by freshman Brian Jeroloman was the game winner for the University of Florida baseball team (9-3) as they rallied to defeat the Northwestern Wildcats 5-3 Saturday afternoon in dramatic fashion. It was game one of the three game series between the two teams. Florida had just three hits leading into the ninth but three straight singles and the long ball gave the Gators the winning runs.

Going into the bottom of the ninth trailing 3-1, the Gators offense kicked into gear. Stephen Barton stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter and drove a base hit through the right side of the infield. Justin Tordi then single to right and Adam Davis followed with a bunt single down the third base line setting up the heroics by Jeroloman.

Starting pitcher Justin Hoyman (3-0) earned the win to improve to 11-6 in his career. Hoyman went the distance as he gave up six hits and three runs with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts. Hoyman was able to stay in the game by keeping his pitch count low and finishing with 107 pitches.

Northwestern starter J.A. Happ controlled the Gators in his six innings of work, striking out 11 and walking four. The Gators managed only one run on one hit off the southpaw, which came in Happ’s last inning of work. Happ came out at the start of the seventh as his high pitch count (113) forced him out of the game.

The two starting pitchers dominated the first three innings. Hoyman struck out four while only giving up one hit while Happ didn’t give up a hit and struck out five Florida batters.

Northwestern got on the board first in the fourth inning when first baseman Mark Ori singled to left field, driving in right fielder Jason Krynski who got on with an infield base hit. Hoyman then retired the next batter with a ground ball to end the inning.

The Gators tied the game in the fifth inning with a bizarre sacrifice fly by Austin Easley. Adam Davis led off the inning with a walk and stole second base. Jeroloman laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Davis to third setting up Florida’s first run. Easley hit a pop foul ball into the Gator dugout that was caught by Northwestern’s Ori. Ori fell into the dugout after the catch and Davis tagged up from third to score the first Florida run and knot the game at one.

Florida missed an opportunity to take the lead in the sixth inning after junior Jeff Corsaletti got the first Gator hit of the game with a single to right field. He then went to third after stealing second and moving up another base on an errant throw. Florida was unable to take advantage of the error, as Happ struck out the next three batters.

The Wildcats scored two runs in the top of the seventh with their first two hitters getting on base with a walk and a single respectively. Hoyman retired the next two batters but shortstop Jon Mikrut hit a line drive over the glove of the first baseman that drove in two runs and gave Northwestern the lead 3-1.

Mikrut would earn the loss as he came on for reliever Chris Hayes with two runners on in the ninth. The Wildcat bullpen pitched two innings and gave up six hits and four runs.

Davis had a pair of hits for the Gators and scored twice while Krynski had two hits for Northwestern.

NOTES

  • This was the first meeting between the two teams.
  • Hoyman pitched the seventh complete of his career.
  • The attendance reached 2,000 at home for the fourth time this season.
  • Justin Tordi ran his hit streak to eight games with the single in the ninth.
  • Hoyman has earned the decision on the mound in 15 of his last 16 starts.
  • Six of the last eight home runs by Florida have come with no outs.

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