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The Gators pounded out 18 hits in the victory including four hits and three RBI by junior C.J. Smith

Saturday March 27, 2004Baseball Pulls Away Late to Take Game Two 17-6 From Kentucky

Gainesville, FL

The Gators pounded out 18 hits in the victory including four hits and three RBI by junior C.J. Smith

Four offensively productive innings and an 18 hit attack lifted the University of Florida baseball team (23-5, 4-1 SEC) to a 17-6 pull away victory over host Kentucky (14-9, 2-3 SEC) Saturday afternoon. Florida scored in just four of the nine innings but had big run innings of seven, four and three runs to take game two from the Wildcats.

C.J. Smith had a monster day at the plate as he went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI while Brian Leclerc knocked in a career best four runs as he went 3-for-5 with a double.

Florida starter Bryan Ball remained perfect as he ran his record to 5-0 as he gave up just one earned run over 5 2/3 innings. Ball would give up six runs on eight hits with just a single walk while throwing 79 pitches in the victory. Reliever Lee Roberson came on to pitch 3 1/3 scoreless innings as he picked up his second save of the season.

Florida opened up a 4-0 lead after one, which would stand until Kentucky took the lead with a five run fourth.

The Florida first started as Jeff Corsaletti walked and Ben Harrison singled bringing cleanup hitter C.J. Smith to the plate. Smith picked his first RBI of the contest as he drove a line drive up the middle, which scored Corsaletti from second. A second walk to Brian Leclerc loaded the bases with one out. A ball in the dirt struck out the next Florida hitter but the ball scooted away from the catcher and Harrison scored from third. Justin Tordi came through in the clutch as she picked up a pair of two out RBI with his double down the left field line that accounted for the final two runs of the inning.

Kentucky put runners on in each of the first two innings but Ball coaxed a couple of ground ball double plays in controlling the Wildcat offense. Ball kept Kentucky scoreless for the first three innings before the Wildcats got to the right hander in the fourth.

Kentucky would take the lead by scoring five unearned runs as Florida committed two errors extending the inning. After the first out the Gators dropped a high wavering fly ball in the infield. A double off the wall by Billy Grace scored the first Wildcat run of the game and a second error put two runners on. The Wildcats took advantage as Michael Bertram hit an RBI single and substitute catcher Aaron Edwards drove a ball of the center field wall bring two more runs home which tied the game at four. Kentucky took the lead as Casey Gilvin brought home Edwards with a looping single to center.

Florida let the lead live for one inning before the Gators exploded for seven runs on six hits in taking the lead for good in the sixth. UF would send 11 batters to the plate and take advantage of two Kentucky miscues in seizing the lead.

Matt LaPorta quickly tied the game up to start the inning as he led off the sixth with a solo home run over the scoreboard in right center. The sixth long ball of 2004 for LaPorta knocked Kentucky starter Seth Stanley out of the game. Stanley received a no decision after going five innings and giving up six hits and five runs with four walks and four strikeouts.

Florida continued to rake runs in the inning off of reliever Matt Scott. Scott came on and gave up a double to Justin Tordi before a sacrifice bunt advanced Tordi to third. A throwing error on a safety squeeze allowed the second run to cross the plate as Florida took the lead 6-5 off the play. Jonathan Tucker would later come home on a throwing error by the catcher as Adam Davis reached on a bunt single. Davis would create his own run as he stole third and home after a pickoff throw attempt at first. The Florida bats were just beginning in the inning as three consecutive RBI singles to left each brought home a run. Smith added his second RBI of the contest while both Leclerc and LaPorta each drove home a run on singles.

Scott earned the loss as he tossed one complete inning and gave up five hits and six runs (one earned) with a walk and two strikeouts. Florida would rough up two more Kentucky relief pitchers for six runs in the final two innings.

The Gators would add three runs in each the eighth and ninth innings to pull away from Kentucky in the 11 run win. In the eighth the first three Florida batters to the plate had base hits as three different players had RBI. Smith drove the first run home with a double while RBI singles came off the bats of Leclerc and Brian Jeroloman.

The three run ninth started with a Corsaletti double off the right field wall. He came home on a pinch hit double off the bat of Gavin Dickey. After a hit by pitch to Austin Easley, Leclerc doubled home two for the 17th and final Florida run.

The two teams will play the final game of the series tomorrow starting at noon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

 

NOTES:

  • LaPorta’s six home runs this season have come in his last 10 game played and 23 at bats.
  • The steal of home for Davis was the first Florida steal of home since Matt Goss accomplished the feat against LSU on March 16, 2001.
  • Florida scored 14 or more runs in a game for the fourth time this season while the 17 runs are the second most of 2004.
  • LaPorta had two base hits in an inning, which is the first time this season that a Gator player has done that. The late time it happened was April 2, 2003 when Brian Rose had two hits against Florida A&M.
  • Six different Florida players had extra base hits.
  • Florida has eight total team saves this season which is one more than they had all of last season.
  • The Gators seven or more runs in an inning for the fourth time this season.
  • With his 3 1/3 perfect innings Lee Roberson has yet to give up an earned run in his 15.0 innings on the mound this season.
  • Jeff Corsaletti extended his hit streak to a career tying best 10 games.

 

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