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Saturday April 3, 2004Basesball Rally Falls Short Three Runs in 8-5 Loss to UG

Gainesville, FL

A six-run fourth inning by the Georgia Bulldogs (18-10, 4-4 SEC) proved to be too much to over come for the University of Florida baseball team (25-7, 5-3 SEC) as they fell 8-5 on Saturday. The two teams will play game three of the series at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at McKethan Stadium.

Georgia jumped on top 8-0 before Gators nibbled at the lead before falling short. UF had 11 hits to just seven for Georgia as C.J. Smith and Brian Leclerc each had three hits while Smith knocked in a pair for the Gators.

The Bulldogs got to Florida starter Bryan Ball in the second as Marshall Szabo led off the inning with a single. After a fielder’s choice groundout Ball hit number six hitter Joey Side putting two runners on for the first time. Josh Smith followed with an RBI single and the runners moved up a base as the throw went to the backstop. Clint Sammons provided the second Georgia run with a infield groundout before the final batter was retired to limit the damage.

Ball would last 3 2/3 innings as Georgia would score six runs in the fourth, which was highlighted by a three run home run by Justin Holmes. After a groundout to lead off the inning, a pair of runners reached on a walk and a single. Josh Smith then singled home the first run of the inning. Following the second out of the frame, Holmes delivered with a shot to the left center bleachers. The Bulldogs would not stop there as back-to-back walks set up an RBI opportunity for Josh Morris who doubled both base runners home giving Georgia the 8-0 lead.

Georgia starter Sean Ruthven cruised through the first four innings facing the minimum while only giving up one hit. C.J. Smith then led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run to put the Gators on the board. Brian Leclerc followed with a double but was left aboard as Ruthven would three of the next four hitters. The home run sparked the Gator offense as Florida would slowly nibble away at the Georgia lead.

Florida was able to get back in the game due to stellar relief pitching that kept Georgia scoreless following the eight run advantage. Adam Sanabria came in for Ball and did not allow a hit or a run over 3 2/3 innings of work. He walked a pair and struck out three in appearing for the second straight game. Darren O’Day finished the game on the mound for the Gators as he pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings.

Florida would follow the fifth with two more runs in the sixth and seventh to cut the deficit to three runs. Both runs in the sixth scored with two outs as the first two hitters of the inning were retired. Ben Harrison started the offense with a single up the middle and went all the way to third on a pair of Ruthven wild pitches. He would score in the next at bat as Smith doubled to the left center gap. Ruthven was pulled following the double in favor of reliever Josh McLaughlin who would immediately give up an RBI single to Leclerc after Smith moved into scoring position on a wild pitch.

Justin Tordi led off the seventh with a solo home run for the Gators. Brian Jeroloman then singled and Jonathan Tucker walked. Following a fielder’s choice groundout and pop out, Harrison singled bringing home Jeroloman and cutting the lead to 8-5.

Florida would threaten one last time in the eighth as two runners reached on a single and a walk with one out. With two runners aboard, Will Startup came on for Georgia and got a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat

Ruthven (3-0) earned the win on the mound as he gave up five hits and three runs with a walk and six strikeouts. Startup earned the save for the second straight game. Startup got the final five outs and allowed just one hit.

 

NOTES

  • UF has played Georgia more times than any other school. The Gators lead the all time series 155-95-2.
  • Smith’s home run was the 27th of his career, which tied him for 10th all-time in the Florida career record book.
  • Florida hit multiple home runs in a game for the 12th time this season.
  • Florida kept Georgia without a hit for the final five innings of play.
  • UF lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
  • The attendance of 3,328 was the second highest total this season and it was the fourth time in 2004 that there has been a crowd of 3,000 or more at McKethan Stadium.
  • Smith had his team leading 14th multi-hit game of the season.
  • Florida had their streak of 18 straight games being hit by a pitch snapped.

 

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