Friday March 19, 2004Baseball Opens League Play with 11-1 Victory Over Arkansas
The University of Florida baseball team (19-4, 1-0 SEC) opened conference play on the right foot with an 11-1 victory over the University of Arkansas (14-4, 0-1 SEC) Friday night at McKethan Stadium. It was the 15th win in the last 16 games for the Gators who improved to 17-2 at home.
Freshmen Brian Leclerc and Brian Jeroloman batting eighth and ninth in the order combined for eight RBI in the win. Leclerc had a career night going 3-for-4 with four RBI while being just a double short of the cycle. Jeroloman finished 1-for-2 and knocked in four runs.
Strong pitching from UF’s Justin Hoyman (5-0) kept Arkansas at bay for the night. Hoyman continued to eat up innings as he pitched his eighth career complete game. The junior finished the game giving up one run on five hits while walking one and striking out five. After giving up a run in the fourth Hoyman would retire 14 of the final 17 hitters including the last eight straight.
Arkansas pushed their only run across in the fourth to cut into a 7-0 lead. Florida had scored five runs in the second and two in the third to take the commanding lead.
After a one-two-three first inning, Hoyman found himself with runners on first and second after back-to-back singles with only one out in the second. Hoyman promptly struck out Brady Toops and got a Devin Day fly out to extinguish any hopes of a rally.
Florida seized the momentum early with a big five run second. The Gators knocked out Arkansas starter Ryan Lennerton (0-2) in the inning as the freshman had a short day that lasted just 1 1/3 innings.
In the second Florida quickly put two runners on after a. C.J. Smith single and a Jon Skorupski walk. The two runners were sacrificed up a base with Brian Jeroloman coming to the plate. Jeroloman hit a line shot up the middle driving home both for the first runs of the contest. The Gators weren’t finished as Leclerc followed with a two-run homer, which knocked Lennerton out of the game. Two batters later Adam Davis put another ball over the fence to give Florida an early 5-0 lead.
Florida tagged on two more runs the next inning when Skorupski led off with a double to left and Justin Tordi singled to put runners on the corner with no outs. Jeroloman brought Skorupski home with a sacrifice to center and Leclerc took his first pitch to right center for a triple and third RBI of the night.
Leclerc continued his hot night by driving in another run in the fifth as he brought home Tordi who earlier doubled and moved to third on a passed ball. Florida would hit the 10 run mark with a pair of runs in the seventh. A Stephen Barton pinch hit RBI triple scored one run while the other run came across after a fielding error to make the score 10-1.
The final Florida run in the bottom of the eighth came after Gavin Dickey had an infield single. He later scored on a RBI ground ball from pinch hitter Matt Maley.
Smith also had a pair of hits and scored twice for Florida. Haas Pratt and Blake Parker had two hits each for the Razorbacks.
The two teams will play the middle game of the series on Saturday with first schedule for 4 p.m. at McKethan Stadium. Florida’s Bryan Ball (4-0, 2.43 ERA) is set to face the Razorbacks Charley Boyce (2-1, 3.60 ERA) on the mound.