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Sunday May 2, 1999Florida Completes Sweep with 10-7 Victory

Gainesville, FL

Freshman Alex Hart had his best outing of his young career and the Florida bats continued to provide the offense as the Gators completed a three-game sweep on the road against Vanderbilt with 10-7 win at McGugin Field. Florida (30-18, 12-12) won for the fifth consecutive game in SEC play, while Vanderbilt dropped to 19-29, 6-18 on the season.

Hart, who had not lasted out of the first inning in his last two Southeastern Conference starts, pitched a career-high five innings. He held Vanderbilt scoreless for the first four innings, leaving the game after allowing three runs on seven hits. He added a career-high tying six strikeouts.

"He went after it today," said Head Coach Andy Lopez of Hart. "He was a aggressive mentally. We needed him to have a good performance."

Senior shortstop Mark Ellis added to his list of accomplishments by resetting a pair of UF career records in the game. Ellis, who already holds the UF all-time hits record, set the career mark for total bases, passing former teammate Brad Wilkerson’s mark of 487. With the same swing in the fourth inning, Ellis also surpassed Mario Linares’ school record for doubles with his 61st career two-bagger.

"It feels good because I have seen the other people on the list," said Ellis of setting the new UF standards. "It is even better in a win."

After the Commodores pulled to within 5-3 in the sixth, the Gators broke the game open in the seventh as the Vanderbilt bullpen fell apart, aiding the UF effort with four walks and a hit by pitch as UF plated four runs in the inning to build a six-run lead.

Vanderbilt again threatened in the seventh inning, bringing the tying run to the plate. After reliever Stuart McFarland walked two batters, Ben Grezlovski, who had a streak of 15.2 consecutive scorelesss innings, entered the game with one out. The Commodores knocked Grezlovski for three hits, including a double by Andy Kropf to pull within three at 9-6. But, Grezlovski struck out the potential tying run in Scott Vanderhoff to end the inning with runners on second and third.

Grezlovski allowed one run in the ninth before getting a ground ball double play to end the game and preserve the win.

"We didn’t panic," said Lopez. "Panic is the worst thing you can do as an athlete. They kept their poise."

Florida, which never trailed in the game, scored four runs in the third inning to jump out to the early advantage. Ellis led off the inning with a double, tying the Florida school doubles and total base record. After a pair of walks by Commodore starter Mark Prior loaded the bases, Pete Nystrom knocked in the first run on a fielder’s choice. Ryan Shealy, who had three hits on the day, followed with a single to center to bring two more runs across. UF added a fourth run on a ground out by Taylor Wood.

In the fourth, Florida added a run on successful double steal. Ellis, who had doubled earlier in the inning to break both the school records for total bases and doubles in one swing, scored as UF led 5-0.

Vanderbilt finally got on the board in the fifth with a pair of runs. Vanderbilt got two hits to leadoff the inning, including a single by Scott Vanderhoff and double by shortstop Matt Kata. Karl Nonemaker followed with the single to center to score both runs.

"We have been playing pretty good," said Ellis. "This series gives us some momentum for the stretch run."

Florida returns home for one game against South Florida on Wednesday, May 5 at 7 p.m.

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