Friday April 2, 2004Baseball Falls to Georgia 10-5 in Series Opener
Freshman Matt LaPorta hit his seventh home run of the season in the Gator loss.
After an early 4-1 lead, the University of Florida baseball team (25-6, 5-2 SEC) was shutdown and fell to the Georgia Bulldogs (17-10, 3-4 SEC) on Friday by a score of 10-5. The loss at McKethan Stadium was only the fourth loss at home for UF as the Gators had their six game win streak snapped.
Georgia put up crooked numbers in four different innings while allowing just one Florida run after the third. The Gators did not help their cause by leaving nine men on base in the contest.
Adam Davis led off the game with a solo home run to left field for the Gators. Florida would add another run in the first frame as Jeff Corsaletti followed with an infield single to extend his hitting streak to 13. After a single by junior C.J. Smith advanced Corsaletti to third, Brian Leclerc did his job and hit a ground ball to send Corsaletti home and give UF an early 2-0 lead.
Despite breezing through the first inning, starter Justin Hoyman had to leave the game due to back spasms. Lee Roberson (2-1) came in to replace Hoyman and quickly pitched out of a second-inning jam. Roberson gave up back-to-back singles to the first two batters faced but followed by getting Joey Side to pop out and coaxed a double play from Josh Smith to end the inning.
Florida continued to press in the second and third innings. Justin Tordi led off the second by reaching on a fielding error and reached second by a sacrifice bunt by catcher Brian Jeroloman. Tordi came home three batters later on a RBI single by Corsaletti. In the third, Matt LaPorta hit a bomb out of the park for his seventh home run of the season. The Gators would not score again until the eighth when Georgia was ahead 10-4.
The top of the order for UF consisting of Davis and Corsaletti would each finish 2-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI.
Georgia came back and took the lead for good with five runs combined in the third and fourth. The Bulldogs scored two in the third courtesy of a Josh Morris double off the wall that brought in Justin Holmes and Jason Jacobs. Holmes got on with a single to left while Jacobs walked to set up the opportunity for Morris. Georgia began the fourth inning with three straight singles that forced Roberson out of the game. Connor Falkenbach came in and induced two groundouts before Bobby Felmy doubled down the left field line to give Georgia a 5-4 advantage.
The Gators were unable to touch Georgia starter Paul Lubrano (3-2) in the middle innings. Florida was held to just one hit from the fourth inning until the seventh when Lubrano was finally pulled. Lubrano (3-2) earned the win as gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits, three walks while striking out two over 6 2/3 innings.
Georgia tagged on two more runs in the fifth. Morris and Marshall Szabo led off with singles and advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt from Kyle Keen. Joey Side took advantage of the opportunity and singled to right center to bring in the two runners and extend the lead to 7-4.
In the eighth inning, the Bulldogs would push across three more insurance runs. Jacobs drove in the first run of the inning with an infield single that scored Clint Sammons who reached on a single. Two more runners would score in the next at bat with a two RBI single to center by Morris.
Florida would score the final run of the game in the eighth on a wild pitch that Jeroloman scored on. Jeroloman led off with a single and advanced to second on a base hit by Jonathan Tucker. He later reached third on a groundout double play.
The two teams will battle again at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Bryan Ball will take the mound for Florida while Sean Ruthven will start for Georgia.