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A five RBI performance by Matt LaPorta helped the Florida baseball team knock off Mississippi State

Saturday April 17, 2004Baseball Evens Series with 16-6 Victory Over Bulldogs

Gainesville, FL

A five RBI performance by Matt LaPorta helped the Florida baseball team knock off Mississippi State

A pair of seven run innings early in the game gave University of Florida (27-11, 7-7 SEC) starting pitcher Justin Hoyman all he needed as the Gators defeated Mississippi State (22-13, 6-8 SEC) 16-6 in game two of the series between the two teams Saturday. The finale of the series and rubber game will be played Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The Florida offense got a pair of five RBI performances from C.J. Smith and Matt LaPorta in the 10 run win. LaPorta would finish 4-for-5 with three runs scored while Jonathan Tucker drove in three with a pair of hits.

Florida jumped all over the Bulldogs as the Gators sent 11 batters to the plate and benefited from four walks in scoring seven runs in the first. The lead would hold for Hoyman who would go 8 1/3 innings before coming out with a runner on first and one out in the ninth.

Hoyman would run his record to a perfect 7-0 as he gave up six hits and six runs (three earned) with three walks and six strikeouts. Hoyman would not allow a runner past first following the fifth inning and faced just three batters in five of his eight innings on the mound.

The scoring started after Jonathan Tucker led off the game with a 10-pitch walk that saw the junior foul off four pitches with a full count. He would later deliver a bases clearing double in the inning. After being sacrificed to second Tucker came home on a single by Smith. Back-to-back walks to Ben Harrison and Brian Leclerc loaded the bases with one out. LaPorta brought home the Gators second run with a hard hit infield single to third base. Jeff Corsaletti drew an RBI bases loaded walk to make the score 3-0 and keeping the bases juiced.

Mississippi State starter Todd Doolittle was removed following his fourth walk giving way to Brooks Dunn. Dunn would strikeout the first batter he faced before an error at third base scored another Gator run and extended the inning for Tucker. Tucker drove a Dunn pitch down the left field line for a double which brought home all three runners to make the score 7-0 before the Bulldogs came to bat.

Doolittle making only his second start of the season took the loss as he lasted just 2/3 of an inning and gave up two hits and six runs with four walks. He fell to 2-1 with the loss.

Mississippi State cut the lead to five runs by scoring two unearned runs in the second after Craig Tatum and Brad Jones led off the inning with consecutive singles. Following a strikeout a pair of errors on one play allowed both Tatum and Jones to score. Hoyman would work out of the jam as he got a pair of ground ball outs to end the inning.

Florida would go in order in the second and third against Dunn before the Gators exploded with two long balls in the fourth. The home runs by Smith and Matt LaPorta gave UF a 12 run lead that would stand. The first nine batters in the inning would reach base as Florida had seven hits and two walks in the frame.

Smith came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a 1-1 pitch that just stayed fair down the left field and went over the fence for a grand slam. After a walk to Ben Harrison and a single by Leclerc, LaPorta drove a 1-0 pitch over the fence the opposite way in right center giving Florida the big lead.

Hoyman would surrender a pair of home runs in the middle innings which cut the lead to 14-5 after five. Jones led off the Mississippi State fourth with a solo shot while Brad Corley hit a two run bomb to left center in the fifth.

The Gators added their final two runs in the eighth as LaPorta drove home pinch runner Gavin Dickey from second with a single. LaPorta would later score on an RBI single from Justin Tordi.

Lee Roberson would close out the victory for Hoyman getting the final two outs to end the game.

Jones had a pair of hits and scored twice for the Bulldogs.

 

NOTES:

  • The two seven run innings in the first and fourth by the Gators tied the most runs Florida has scored in any one inning in an SEC game this season.
  • The paid attendance of 10,617 is the 13th largest ever at Dudy Noble Field and the largest attendance in a SEC game this year.
  • Hoyman gave up two or more home runs for only the second time in his 27 career starts.
  • Florida scored their second most runs in an SEC contest this season (17-Kentucky, 3/2704).
  • Eight of the nine Florida starters scored at least one run.
  • Florida has walked 12 times in the first two games of the series.
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