Wednesday March 17, 2004Baseball Falls 9-5 to Army for First Loss in Last 15 Games
The University of Florida baseball team (18-4) had their 14-game win streak snapped with a tough 9-5 loss at home to Army Wednesday evening. The Black Knights jumped out to an 8-1 lead and then held off a furious rally by the Gators.
Army led 1-0 through six innings but the two teams combined to score 13 runs in the final three innings. Florida used a big grand slam off the bat of Matt LaPorta in the eighth inning to get back into the game. Army had scored seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take the seven run advantage.
Florida will have one day off prior to opening the SEC schedule with the University of Arkansas this weekend in a three game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday night in the league opener.
The first six innings of the game developed into a pitcher’s duel between Army starter Wes Bumgardner and an array of Gator pitchers. Steven Porter (0-2) took the loss for Florida by giving up one run in 2/3 of an inning. He came on after Matt Fuchs and Tommy Boss pitched the first three innings and faced the minimum over that time. Fuchs started the game and walked a batter before getting a ground ball double play. The two pitchers induced six ground balls and struck out two.
The Black Knights scored a run in the top of the fourth with a RBI double by first baseman Walker Gorham that drove in Schuyler Williamson. Williamson hit a two out triple off the wall to right and came home at the next at bat. It was the first two hits of the game for the Black Knights.
Florida made some noise in the second and fourth but was unable to push across a runner. Junior C.J. Smith hit a single in the second with one out, but a double play ended the inning. Smith reached base again in the fourth on a walk and was joined by Jeff Corsaletti who occupied second on a single and a stolen base. Army starting pitcher Bumgardner got Stephen Barton to strike out to halt the rally.
Bumgardner (1-0) earned the win by pitching six plus innings and giving up six hits and one run with four walks and two strikeouts.
The two teams were quiet for the next two innings before Army took an important five run lead with four more runs in the seventh. After a lead off walk to Gorham and a single by Nate Stone, Jeremy Stache attempted to sacrifice bunt and got aboard on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Back-to-back singles by Nolan Cork and Justin Long gave Army a 4-0 lead. The final run scored on a Jason Meloy safety squeezed that brought home Nolan Cork.
UF scratched across a run in the bottom of the seventh to get on the board. Designated hitter Stephen Barton led off with a walk and Justin Tordi singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. Jon Skorupski pinch-hit and drew a walk to load the bases. Daniel Brooks hit a RBI ground ball to bring Barton home but the inning ended with a strikeout and ground out.
The Cadets tagged on three more runs the next inning. Williamson got to third courtesy of a three base throwing error and came home on a passed ball. With the bases loaded Army’s Kyle Scogin singled up the middle to drive home Gorham and Stone.
The Gators made it a three-run game in the eighth when LaPorta hit the grand slam over the left field fence with two outs. Ben Harrison led off the inning with his team-leading 20th walk and C.J. Smith followed with a walk of his own before Justin Tordi was hit by a pitch to load the bases for LaPorta.
Florida had life in the ninth as Jonathan Tucker led off the final frame with a single. The next batter grounded out before a walk put the tying run in the on deck circle. The tying run would never come to the plate as the next two batters were retired to end the game.
Florida finished the game with eight base hits including one each by seven different Florida starters.