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Bryan Ball went a career long 6 2/3 innings as he improved to 3-0 on the mound this season.

Monday March 1, 2004Florida Baseball Holds Off Northwestern 6-3 for Series Sweep

Gainesville, FL

Bryan Ball went a career long 6 2/3 innings as he improved to 3-0 on the mound this season.

The University of Florida baseball team (11-3) continued to show their dominance at home this season as they swept Northwestern University (2-6-1) with a 6-3 victory Monday evening. The Gators improved to 10-1 at McKethan Stadium this season.

Starting pitcher Bryan Ball (3-0) had his best start of the season and pitched stronger as the game went on. Ball went a career long 6 2/3 innings giving up one run with two strikeouts and no walks.

Northwestern jumped ahead with a single run in the first inning when Matt Brimmer doubled off the wall to lead off the game. After a sacrifice bunt by Jon Mikrut, Brimmer came home on a ground ball on the right side of the infield. With runners on first and second, Ball kept the game close early and coaxed Dan Pohlman into a double play to end the inning.

Senior Ben Harrison quickly tied up the game in the bottom of the inning by hitting his fourth home run of the season over the right field fence with two outs. Harrison finished the night going 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.

Florida put up three more runs on the board in the third, two of which came on a throwing error. Designated hitter Stephen Barton led off the inning with a hit by pitch and Adam Davis followed with a single to left. Harrison then got two more Gators home by hitting a ground ball to Northwestern’s starting pitcher Dan Konecny. Konecny threw the ball away as Barton and Davis came home. Harrison scored his second run of the night with a sacrifice fly by fellow outfielder Jeff Corsaletti.

Konecny took the loss as he went 6.0 innings and gave up eight hits and four runs (one earned) with a walk and no strikeouts. Florida would get to relievers Chris Hayes and Andrew Smith for a pair of runs late.

In the seventh Harrison would pick up another important RBI for the Gators. Davis singled through the left side and promptly stole second. He came home as Harrison drove a pitch into center for the fifth Florida run and a 5-1 lead.

Sophomore reliever Darren O’Day would use the cushion and hold off the Wildcats. O’Day earned his third save of the season by going 2 1/3 innings and giving up two earned runs with a strikeout. The Wildcats would get to O’Day in the ninth with a pair of runs.

Florida would get another important run in the eighth as C.J. Smith led off the inning with a double that bounced off the right field wall. He was removed from the game for pinch runner Gavin Dickey who later advanced to third on a fly ball to the outfield. Justin Tordi then picked up an RBI with a safety squeeze bunt that brought home Dickey from third for the fifth run of the contest.

In the top of the seventh with a 4-1 lead, O’Day came in with runners on first and second with two outs. O’Day got pinch hitter Doug Beatty to pop out to right. O’Day had a similar situation the next inning when Northwestern’s Brimmer and Caleb Fields were on first and second respectively with one out. After a groundout to third by Jon Mikrut, O’Day popped up sophomore Dan Brauer to center to end the inning.

Northwestern was not through fighting as they made one last effort in the ninth. With one out and Pohlman on first, Mark Ori tripled to left to drive Pohlman home. Ori then scored on a ball hit to the right side of the infield by Josh Lieberman. O’Day then got Fields to end the game on a strikeout.

Davis scored twice while Barton went 2-for-2 with a double. Smith also hit his team leading fifth two bagger of he season.

Florida is back in action when they travel to Stetson to take on the Hatters Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m.

NOTES

  • This was the first non-conference three-game sweep by the Gators since they faced Hofstra 2/21-2/23 in 2003.
  • Florida improved to 5-0 this season against teams from the Big Ten.
  • The Gators had five players with two hits.
  • Mike Pete made his 52nd career appearance on the mound.
  • The game time of 2:18 was the shortest game of the season.
  • Harrison’s home run was the 27th of his career, which moved home into 10th place all-time in the Florida career record books.
  • Florida used just six pitchers in the series and they combined to give up just nine runs lowering their ERA to 4.65.

--UF-

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