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Head coach Pat McMahon and the Gators will head to the SEC Tournament starting Wednesday.

Sunday May 23, 2004Baseball Takes Game Three 5-3 Over Vols Behind Falkenbach

Gainesville, FL

Head coach Pat McMahon and the Gators will head to the SEC Tournament starting Wednesday.

The University of Florida baseball team (38-18, 17-13 SEC) rebounded from a pair of tough losses to Tennessee to win game three of the series 5-3 between the teams on Sunday afternoon in the regular season finale. Florida took a 5-1 lead and then held on for the victory.

Florida closes out the regular season and will play in SEC Tournament starting on Wednesday. The Gators will be either the fifth or sixth seed depending on results from other SEC games on Sunday.

Making just his second start of the season and appearing in his fourth straight game Connor Falkenbach went a career high 7 and 1/3 innings in getting the victory on the mound. Falkenbach gave up five hits and three runs and did not walk a batter while striking out two. Four of the five hits he gave up were in the first four innings as he ran his record to 8-6. Bryan Ball picked up his first save of the season as he pitched the final 1 and 2/3 innings and struck out two batters.

Florida had a pair of three hit performances as Adam Davis went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and Jeff Corsaletti was 3-for-5 with an RBI.

The two teams were tied at 1-1 in the fifth when Florida took a three run lead on a Ben Harrison long ball. Harrison’s home run was his team leading 16th of the season and the second in as many days.

Tennessee starter Craig Cobb retired the first two batters of the inning before consecutive singles by Davis and C.J. Smith brought Harrison to the plate. Harrison took the first pitch from Cobb and drove it over the wall in left center field.

Florida would add a fifth run in the seventh to take a 5-1 lead. Davis led off the inning with a double off the wall down the right field line. He would score two outs later as Corsaletti drove a pitch into right field which easily allowed Davis to cross the plate.

Tennessee would not go away quietly though as the Volunteers scored twice in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-3. Todd Martin led off the inning with a double and leadoff hitter Eli Iorg was hit by a pitch with one out. Brian Cleveland drove home Martin with a single to left while Chase Headley plated Iorg with a shot that went off Ball. Ball would come right back though and strikeout Rob Fitzgerald with runners at the corners to end the inning.

Florida scored a run early in the second, but Tennessee controlled the damage by throwing out a runner at the plate. With runners at second and third and one out Justin Tordi hit a grounder to shortstop that scored Matt LaPorta from third base. LaPorta has earlier singled to left field to setup the run.

Tennessee tied the game against Falkenbach in the fourth as Rob Fitzgerald was hit by a pitch with two outs and stole second. Chris Kemp followed with a single to left field and just beat the throw at home to tie the contest.

Cobb would last seven innings and give up 12 hits and five runs with two walks and one strikeout. He fell to 3-3 with the loss on the mound.

 

NOTES

  • Florida hit six home runs in the series. It was the most long balls hit by the Gators in an SEC series this season.
  • Falkenbach made his team and SEC leading 32nd appearance of the season … His 32 appearances this season are most for a Florida pitcher since Ben Grezlovski made 36 in 1999 … The appearances already ranks eighth in a single season in Gator history.
  • The 16 home runs by Harrison are a career high after hitting 11 as a junior … Harrison now has 39 career home runs which is tied for second all-time with Ryan Shealy who hit 39 from 1999-2002.
  • The Gators had 36 hits in the series, which was the third most hits in an SEC series this season.
  • The UF pitching staff did not walk a batter in a game for the 10th time in 2004.
  • The Gators improved to 15-9 in games decided by two runs or less. Florida has played eight straight decided by two or less runs.
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