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Saturday March 6, 2004Baseball Rides Falkenbach to 8-3 Victory Over Purdue

Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida baseball team (14-3) used the long ball and strong pitching to defeat Purdue University 8-3 for their 10th win in a row on Saturday. The Gators have won the first two games of the series and will look for the series sweep tomorrow. The final game of the three-game set is set to start at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

The story of the game was the relief pitching of Connor Falkenbach (5-0) who earned the win after replacing starter Steven Porter with two outs in the third. Falkenbach retired the first 13 batters after entering the game and 19 of the 21 he faced. Falkenbach showed no signs of fatigue after appearing in his third straight game. He went on to pitch a career high 6 1/3 innings and gave up two hits and no walks, while striking out five.

Florida took the lead for good by scoring four unearned runs in the fifth. After leading 2-0 early the Boilermakers scored three runs in the third to take control. The Purdue lead would not hold up as the Florida capitalized on Purdue miscues for the five-run victory.

The Gators four run fifth started with two outs and no one on base. Ryan Kennedy reached on an error and Ben Harrison drew a walk before Jeff Corsaletti tied the game at three with a single to left. C.J. Smith then made Purdue pay as he hit a three-run home run to give Florida a 6-3 lead.

UF would not look back as the Gators tacked on a pair of runs. In the sixth Matt LaPorta hit his first career home run, a solo shot to left. UF wasn’t done with the long ball as Harrison took the ball over the fence to left field in the seventh for the final run of the game. It was the sixth home run of the season and 29th of the career for the senior.

Florida jumped all over Purdue early with a run in each the first and second innings. In the first Harrison earned his first of two RBI of the game by bringing Jonathan Tucker home. After Tucker led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, Adam Davis moved him to third with a double to left field. Harrison hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield that scored Tucker for an early 1-0 Florida lead.

UF added to the lead in the second when Jon Skorupski led off the inning with a single and Justin Tordi followed by being hit by a pitch. Each runner moved up a base on an error and with the bases loaded a ground play double play scored Skorupski. The 2-0 Gator advantage would not last long as Purdue used the home run to go ahead in the third.

The Boilermakers took the lead in the third when Eric Osborn connected with a three-run home run. Spencer Ingaldson led off the inning with a single to left field and Simon Kunk was hit by a pitch. After starting pitcher Steven Porter retired Rob Brockel, Osborn took advantage of the wind blowing out to left and hit one over the fence.

Purdue starter Brian Karpel (0-1) took the loss in his second start of the season. The fifth-year senior pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up five runs (one earned), while walking two and striking out one.

Florida finished the game with seven hits with seven different players each having one.

Second baseman Eric Osborn finished the game going 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI for Purdue.

 

NOTES:

  • This was the first 10-game winning streak for the Gators since the start of the 2002 season when the Gators began 11-0.
  • Senior catcher Bo Dring was honored before the game for being a Hometown Hero.
  • Harrison has had at least one RBI in each of the last four games.
  • Connor Faulkenbach’s ninth appearance leads the team and is three more than the next closest Gator.
  • The Gators hit three home runs for the first time this season.
  • Florida did not commit an error in the game for the fourth time this season and for the first time since Feb. 29 against Northwestern
  • C.J.Smith raised his team leading RBI total to 28 with three RBI in the game.
  • After leaving 15 on base in the series opener the Gators only left four on base in the game.
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