Friday April 16, 2004Baseball Falls 11-2 at Mississippi State in Series Opener
An early six run advantage was too much to overcome on the road as the University of Florida baseball team (26-11, 6-7 SEC) fell 11-2 to Mississippi State University (22-12, 6-7 SEC) Friday evening. The Gators and Bulldogs will play game two on Saturday with first pitch slated for 4 p.m. ET.
The Gators had just three hits and could not get to the Mississippi State pitching until the seventh. The Bulldogs led until Florida put a pair of runs on the board in that inning. The Bulldogs scored eight of their runs in the first five innings and then pulled way in the win.
Mississippi State used a Craig Tatum two-run home run in the first to take the early 2-0 lead. After a pair of outs to start the inning Brad Corley singled setting up the long ball for Tatum. The Bulldogs would reload the bases following the home run but Tommy Boss got a groundout to end the inning.
Boss would surrender four runs in the second as he was removed after 1 2/3 innings. Only one run in the inning was earned as a fielding error allowed Mississippi State to have the big run inning. The Bulldogs sent eight batters to the plate and had four hits.
Corley and Brad Jones each drove in a run with singles after ninth hitter Jeff Butts led off the inning with a double. A Thomas Berkery single scored Tatum for the fifth run of the contest single while the final run came in after reliever Adam Sanabria balked.
Sanabria would pitch a pair of scoreless innings in the third and fourth before the Bulldogs put a pair of runs across in the fifth. Berkery would score on a Butts double after leading off the inning with a single. Butts would later come home to give the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead when Jeffrey Rea had the second straight Mississippi State double.
Mississippi State starting pitcher Alan Johnson would pitch five innings of no hit ball before Gator pinch hitter Ryan Kennedy led off the sixth with a single to center.
Florida finally struck against Johnson in the seventh as Kennedy delivered his second hit of the contest. After an out back-to-back walks to Austin Easley and Jonathan Tucker brought Kennedy to the plate. Kennedy hit a rope over the bag at first base for a double bringing home both base runners. Florida had a chance to score more as C.J. Smith followed Kennedy with a single but a ground ball double play ended the inning.
Johnson would earn the victory as he went seven innings and gave up three hits and two runs with six walks and five strikeouts. He ran his record to 2-1 in the win.
Boss would take the loss on the mound to fall to 2-2 on the season. Three other Florida pitchers would see action in the contest.
The Bulldogs would tack on one run in the seventh and two more in the eighth. In the seventh Butts had a sacrifice fly RBI while in the eighth back-to-back doubles by Corley and Tatum drove in one run while Berkery singled in Tatum for the final Bulldog run of the contest.
Jones, Corley and Berkery each had three hits for the 19 hit Bulldog attack while Tatum drove in three runs.