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Friday April 23, 1999South Carolina Defeats Florida, 15-14

Gainesville, FL

The Florida baseball team fell behind by 10 runs, staged a dramatic –  ninth inning comeback, but fell short to South Carolina 15-14 Friday night at McKethan Stadium before a crowd of 2,358.

The Gators (25-18, 7-12) scored runs in the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings to claw back from a 14-4 deficit. The ninth began innocently enough for the Gamecocks (29-13, 12-7). Reliever Lee Gronkiewicz retired Ryan Shealy and Taylor Wood before Florida sent up pinch-hitter Matt Heath.

Heath rocked a pitch over the center field wall to ignite the rally. Mark Ellis doubled, and Matt Siegel and Greg Catalanotte walked. USC called upon Scott Barber then to close out the game, but Kurt Keene greeted him with a RBI single.

Florida’s Jason Dill, making his first appearance since spraining his knee March 27th, drew a walk with the bases loaded. Jason Pomar, the Gamecocks closer, came in to face Mike Floyd and got two quick strikes. Floyd then delivered a two-RBI single to pull Florida within a run. Shealy drew a walk to load the bases for the third time in the inning. Pomar enticed Wood to ground to second to earn his eighth save of the season and finally douse the Florida flame.

UF head coach Andy Lopez was not around to see the finish after getting ejected in the second inning for arguing with home plate umpire Clarence Coleman.

Florida’s Jeff Cardozo (2-2) was touched up for 10 runs in three innings but only four were earned. Florida was plagued by errors all evening, tying a season high with five. Siegel dropped a fly ball with two outs in the first inning, and USC’s Tim Angiolini followed with the first of his two home runs on the night to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.

The lead was 5-0 after Lopez’s ejection in the second but Florida scored three in the bottom of the second on hits by Peter Nystrom, Floyd, and Shealy and a sacrifice fly by Ellis.

South Carolina scored six in the fourth inning to chase Cardozo. The big blow in the inning came when Jay Belflower relieved him and gave up a grand slam to Angiolini. USC scored three more in the eighth off Stuart McFarland to make the score 14-4.

UF started to peck away at USC starter Randy Hadden (7-2) and the massive lead in the fifth on a Shealy RBI single. Todd Johannes led off the sixth with his first career home run. Wood doubled home Floyd in the seventh, and Catalanotte blasted a shot to center for his 14th homer of the season.

The Gators set a season high for hits with 21. Floyd and Keene had four hits, Ellis three, three others two, and 10 total batters with at least one hit.

Florida hosts South Carolina again Saturday night at McKethan Stadium at 7 p.m. UF’s Sergio Rodriguez (1-0, 3.72 ERA) is scheduled to face USC’s Kip Bouknight (6-2, 3.56 ERA).


South Carolina 320 063 100 - 15 17 2

Florida 031 011 125 - 14 21 5

Hadden, Gronkiewicz (8), Barber (9), Pomar (9) and Rios, Whittaker (8). Cardozo, Belflower (4), McFarland (4), DeVaughan (5) and Johannes. WP – Hadden 7-2. LP – Cardozo 2-2. Sv – Pomar (8). HR: South Carolina, Angiolini 2 (9), Florida, Johannes (1), Catalanotte (14), Heath (4). T – 3:35. A – 2,358.

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