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Jonathan Tucker scored the game winning run for the Gators in the 10th inning.

Wednesday May 26, 2004Baseball Gets 10th Inning 5-4 Win Over LSU at SEC Tourney

Birmingham, AL

Jonathan Tucker scored the game winning run for the Gators in the 10th inning.

A 10th inning wild pitch allowed Jonathan Tucker to score the winning run as the University of Florida baseball team (39-18) defeated LSU (41-16) 5-4 in the opening game of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday. The Gators held the lead three different times only to see the Tigers tie it up before UF pulled it out in the extra frame.

Tucker led off the 10th with a triple to left field that went underneath the glove of left fielder Ryan Patterson as he dove for the ball. The ball rolled to the fence and Tucker wheeled around the diamond and went in to third standing up. Following a strikeout and intentional walk to C.J. Smith, LSU catcher Matt Liuzza was crossed up on a pitch from Jordan Faircloth and Tucker came home with the winning run.

Tucker finished the day 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI while Justin Tordi also had a pair of hits for the Florida nine hit attack.

Darren O’Day came on in the eighth inning for the Gators and shut down LSU in getting the win. O’Day improved to 8-1 as he went 2 and 2/3 innings and gave up a pair of hits with two strikeouts. He closed out the win after starter Justin Hoyman gave up nine hits and four runs (three earned) with a pair of walks and three strikeouts in 7 and 1/3 innings.

Georgia reliever Jason Determann pitched three strong innings but took the loss. He gave up just one hit and the one run with a walk and three strikeouts.

Florida took a quick 2-0 lead in there top of the first off LSU starter Justin Meier. Tucker led off the contest with a double down the left field line and Adam Davis put runners at the corners with his perfect bunt single. Smith drove in the first run of the contest with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Ben Harrison then drove a Meier pitch into right center field for a double bringing home Davis, but Harrison recorded the second out as he fell rounding second.

LSU did not waste any time tying the contest as the Tigers plated two runs in the bottom half. Jon Zeringue hit a two RBI single up the middle after J.C. Holt walked and Ryan Patterson singled.

The Gators took the lead in the second as Matt LaPorta led off the inning with a solo shot to left center. It was the 13th long ball of the season for the freshman.

LSU would tie the score once again in the third as Patterson led off the frame with a single. He advanced to second on a groundout and to third on balk before Ivan Naccarata doubled him home with the tying run.

Following the 3-3 tie both starting pitchers would settle in and the teams would be scoreless for the next three innings. After allowing five hits in the first three innings, HH

Hoyman would allow just two over the next three innings in keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard.

The teams then traded runs in the seventh as Davis hit a sacrifice fly RBI for the Gators. Tordi scored the go ahead run after he singled through the left side and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Tordi would then move to third as he beat out a throw at third after a Tucker bunt before Davis lifted a fly ball to center.

LSU would come right back and scored an unearned in the bottom half of the seventh. Holt reached on a fielder’s choice after a close play at first on a double play attempt. He would score on a double by Patterson as the Tigers tied the contest for a third time.

Meier went 6 and 1/3 innings and gave up eight hits and four runs with two walks and career high nine strikeouts for the Tigers. At the plate for LSU, Patterson went 3-for-5 with two runs scored.

UF advances to play the winner of No. 2 seed Georgia and No. 7 seed Vanderbilt on Thursday. First pitch in that game is set for 6 p.m. ET.

QUOTES:

Florida head coach Pat McMahon –

"This is tournament time and this is a fun event. This was just another great example of a great college baseball game. Both teams battled hard and we were fortunate to pull out another one run victory. It was just a great felling this morning to wake up and put on my uniform to play baseball."

"Jonathan Tucker put us in position to win with his big hit and then we took advantage of that. Jonathan was running hard all the way. It was a great effort play on both sides of the field and when you have great effort good things are going to happen."

Florida junior Jonathan Tucker -

On scoring the winning run
"I just hit the ball squarely on the bat and started to run. I honestly thought the ball was caught, but I just kept running as hard as I could and I kept looking for Coach Slater's signals on third base. It was a great feeling to take the lead with Darren on the mound."

 

NOTES:

  • LaPorta has hit five home runs in Florida’s last five games … LaPorta has hit his 13 home runs this season in just 100 at bats.
  • Florida stole two or more bases in a game for the 19th time this season.
  • The Gators played their ninth straight game decided by two runs or less … Florida improved to 16-9 in games that are decided by two or less runs and 5-3 in extra inning affairs … UF also is 12-5 in games decided by one run.
  • Florida defeated LSU in the SEC Tournament for the first time since 1996 … Florida is 8-5 all-time against LSU in the postseason affair … UF head coach Pat McMahon also remained undefeated against LSU in the SEC Tournament as he improved to 3-0.
  • Four Gator freshmen started in the game and three hits and two RBI.
  • Darren O’Day inherited two runners in the contest and did not allow either to score … This season he has inherited 59 base runners and only 19 have scored.
  • The Gators last at bat victory was the 12th of the season.
  • Adam Davis tied his career high with a hit in his 10th straight game while Ben Harrison ran his hit streak to a season best eight games.
  • Florida had five extra base hits while the Tigers had just two.

 

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