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Ben Harrison hit a pair of three run home runs to help Florida to a 8-5 victory over Alabama.

Saturday May 8, 2004Harrison's Home Runs Lift Baseball Over Alabama 8-5

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Ben Harrison hit a pair of three run home runs to help Florida to a 8-5 victory over Alabama.

Senior Ben Harrison delivered two three run home runs in the final three innings to lift the University of Florida baseball team (35-13, 15-8 SEC) to a 8-5 victory over host Alabama (27-21, 8-15 SEC) to even the series with the Crimson Tide. Florida had not mounted any offense in the series until scoring eight runs in their final three at bats Saturday. The win for Florida snapped an eight-game losing streak in Tuscaloosa dating back to the 1996 season.

Harrison would finish 3-for-4 with the six RBI for the Gators who had seven of its 11 hits in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Harrison hit a three run bomb in the seventh to put Florida on top 5-4 and then broke a five all tie with a game winning three run shot in the top of the ninth. Alabama had been in control the entire game until the eight run Florida burst at the end of the contest.

Alabama did bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth as a single and error put runners at the corners for leadoff hitter Mark Haske. But, starter Justin Hoyman finished his complete game with a ground ball double play ending the contest.

Hoyman would pitch his fourth complete game of the season to run his record to a perfect 10-0. The junior gave up nine hits and five runs (four earned) and walked two with two strikeouts.

Hoyman’s counterpart Brent Carter pitched into the seventh and left the game with a shutout but received a no decision. He would give up just five hits with one walk and three strikeouts before being removed for reliever Seth Johnson. Johnson took the loss to fall to 2-3 as he gave up five earned runs over three innings of work.

In a repeat from game one Alabama would use the fourth inning to take the lead on the Gators. The Crimson Tide would benefit from a throwing error that could have been turned into a double play and would have left no runners on with the two outs.

Evan Bush led off the fourth with a walk and the next batter Gabe Scott lined a shot to first base. The ball was fielded but an errant throw went into left center field putting runners at the corners. Zac Welch delivered at the plate with the two runners on as he tripled down the left field line. Welch would score the third and final run of the inning on a single to right by Allen Rice.

Leadoff hitter Mark Haske would score the fourth run for Alabama in the fifth. Haske would lead off the fifth with double and advanced to third on a single by Emeel Salem. Haske would come home on a 0-2 wild pitch from Hoyman to make the score 4-0 in favor of the Crimson Tide.

For the second straight game the Florida offense was quiet early until waking up in the seventh. Florida had not had a runner reach third in the series until that inning. The Gators would knock Carter out of the game in the inning, as the southpaw took a no decision.

Carter left the game with runners at second and third after Brian Jeroloman led off seventh being hit by pitch and Adam Davis followed with a double down the left field line. Johnson then came on in the dangerous situation for Carter and struck out the first batter he faced for the second out of the inning.

Stephen Barton came to the plate for Florida and came through in the clutch as he battled before taking a 2-2 pitch from Johnson and driving it into center field. Both runners scored cutting the Alabama lead in half at 4-2. However, Florida was not through as C.J. Smith was the second Florida batter hit in the inning. Harrison then gave Florida their first lead of the series as he jumped ahead in the count 2-0 and knocked a long ball off the scoreboard in left field. The three run home run gave the Gators a brief 5-4 advantage.

The Crimson Tide would tie the game in the bottom half as Greg Paiml led off the inning with an unlikely home run. It was just the second home run of the season for Paiml.

A one out error in the ninth and a single through the right side by Smith brought Harrison to the plate again with two runners on. This time Harrison would take the first pitch from Johnson and drive it the other way over the right center field fence giving Florida all it would need. Harrison would hit the two three run homers on consecutive pitches.

Justin Tordi had a pair of two out singles and went 3-for-5 while Alabama’s Allen Rice had three hits for the Crimson Tide.

Florida will attempt to win a series at Alabama for the first time since 1988 on Sunday. The Gators will send RHP Bryan Ball (5-1, 4.50 ERA) to the mound to face Alabama LHP Taylor Tankersley (2-3, 1.40 ERA).

NOTES:

  • Florida recorded their first extra base hit in the series as Jonathan Tucker doubled in the third inning.
  • Florida went scoreless for 15 and 2/3 innings before having the five-run seventh inning.
  • The complete game for Hoyman was the 10th of his career.
  • The two home runs for Harrison gave him 37 in his career, which is third all-time in Florida history. He trails second place Ryan Shealy, who hit 39 home runs in his career, by two long balls. The multi-home run game for Harrison was his first of the season and it was also the fifth home run he has hit in the past six games.
  • The Gators improved to 11-3 in games played on Saturday.
  • Florida scored five or more runs in an inning for the 24th time this season and for the 11th time in a SEC game.
  • The Gators got to the 35 win mark for the fifth straight year and for the 20th time in school history. The five-year stretch is the longest consecutive 35 win seasons in school history.

 

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