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Wednesday May 12, 2004Baseball Wins in Ninth 3-2 to Take Season Series From FSU

Gainesville, FL

A RBI single by Jonathan Tucker in the bottom of the ninth drove home the winning run as University of Florida baseball team (37-13) defeated Florida State University (31-19) 3-2 Wednesday night. The win gave the Gators a series victory over Florida State for the first time since 1998. It was the third straight game that Florida has won in its last at bat.

Down 2-1 entering into the bottom of the ninth, the Gators maintained their composure and began their rally as Matt LaPorta blooped a single to shallow center and Adam Davis followed with a bullet to right that sent pinch-runner Gavin Dickey to third. Justin Tordi then laid down a perfect push bunt single that drove in Dickey and tied the game. Florida was not finished as Tucker took a Kevin Lynch pitch the opposite way bringing home Davis with the winning run from second.

Tucker finished the day 3-for-5 with three singles and a RBI. The bottom of the Gators order provided most of the hits as Davis, Tordi and Brian Jeroloman each went 2-for-4.

Lynch took the loss giving up the two runs over his 2/3 innings of action.

Florida State had used an Eddy Martinez-Esteve solo home run in the top of ninth to take a 2-1 advantage. Martinez-Esteve did most of the damage for FSU in the game as he finished 3-for-4 with the home run and a triple. It was the only two extra base hits in the game for either team.

Darren O’Day picked up the victory as he gave up just the single run in his two innings of work. O’Day improved to 7-1 on the season. He had come on for Mike Pete who kept the game under control with his four scoreless innings.

Connor Falkenbach made his first start of the season and kept the game close but was limited to three-plus innings because of a set pitch count to preserve him for the weekend. Falkenbach gave up one earned run on three hits while striking out four and walking none.

Florida had chances to get on the board but could not come through with the clutch hit. UF had two runners on in the third with one out but starter Eddie Cannon got out of the jam with a double play. Florida would leave five runners on in the first seven innings.

The Seminoles scored the first run of the contest in the top of the fourth when Martinez-Esteve led off with a triple to right-center. After a walk to Gibbs Chapman, Aaron Cheesman grounded into a 5-4-3 double play that plated Martinez-Esteve for the first run of the contest.

The Gators evened the game one inning later as Tordi and Jeroloman hit back-to-back singles to put men on first and second for Jonathan Tucker. Tucker stayed alive as his ground ball to first base was thrown into the dirt on the attempted force play at second. With the bases loaded, Stephen Barton drove in his 19th run of the season with a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game at one.

Florida looked like they were in trouble in the top of the eighth but managed to slide out of the inning with no damage done. Matt Sauls led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on a failed pick off throw with no outs. O’Day then came on and coaxed a groundout to Dennis Anderson, which also kept Sauls on third.

The crucial play came with the infield in and leadoff hitter Bryan Zech at the plate. Zech hit a weak ground ball to Tordi and the shortstop fired it home quickly to catcher Brian Jeroloman who laid the tag on Sauls at the plate for the second out. The inning ended when Stephen Drew hit a liner to left center that was tracked down by a running Brian Leclerc.

Florida State wasted a quality start from Cannon who went 7 and 1-3 innings and gave up eight hits and one unearned while striking out two.

 

NOTES:

  • The Gators win on Wednesday equaled their 37 total wins from a season ago.
  • The attendance of 5,469 on Wednesday night was the fourth highest at McKethan Stadium history. The four highest attended games have all been against Florida State.
  • Florida held their opponents to seven or fewer hits for the 17th time this season.
  • The last at-bat win for UF was their 11th of the season and the Gators improved to 11-3 in one-run games.
  • The Gators finished the season 21-4 in non-conference games including 19-2 at home.
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