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Sunday February 13, 2005UF Baseball Takes Series from CSU with 15-6 Win

Gainesville, FL

Behind the pitching of junior Bryan Ball and the offensive production supplied by senior Jeff Corsaletti, Florida rolled to a 15-6 win over Charleston Southern on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium to clinch the weekend series. After falling to the Buccaneers (2-5) on Friday night, UF (2-1) took the final two encounters.

Making his season debut, Ball worked six strong innings and tied his career high with seven strikeouts. Meanwhile, Corsaletti ignited the Gators; 10-hit attack by matching his personal best of six RBI, including a three-run homer in the second inning off the scoreboard overlooking right field. The Port Charlotte, Fla., native’s 3-for-4 effort also included an RBI double in the first, three runs scored and a stolen base. Ball gave up four runs, although just one was earned, on three hits to earn his first victory of the season.

"I would like to give Charleston Southern a lot of credit," said head coach Pat McMahon. "They defended the field throughout the weekend very well and kept battling. We are really proud of our kids’ efforts in so many ways. Today was a big game for our ball club. We’re a close-knit team and root hard for each other."

"It was a real positive outing (for Ball)," continued the fourth-year Gator skipper. "He kept control of the game and threw the ball in the strike zone. He did a great job for us today."

In the first two games of the series, UF was unable to score more than one run in an inning. However, that trend was bucked right away as the Gators took a 2-0 lead in their first trip to the dish. With one out, junior Stephen Barton slammed the first pitch he saw from CSU junior starter Bobby Parnell (2-2) into the left center field gap for his second double of the series. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Corsaletti laced a two-bagger of his own down the left field line. The second run resulted when sophomore Brian Jeroloman lined a two-out single to left to plate Corsaletti.

Parnell (2-2) took the loss after notching his second win of the season Friday night in relief. In 4.1 innings today, the right-hander allowed eight earned runs on seven hits while striking out three Florida batters and walking three. He also threw two wild pitches and hit a pair of batters.

The Florida offense was determined to squash any talk of a hitting slump and busted the game open in the second. With two outs and runners on the corners, Corsaletti crushed a 3-1 pitch deep to right field to extend the Gator advantage to 5-0, scoring sophomore Gavin Dickey and Barton ahead of him. The homer was Corsaletti’s first of the season.

In the top of the third, the Buccaneer offense again proved to be opportunistic as it capitalized on the continued shaky play by the Gators in the field. The inning started when senior Jay Reynolds reached after he struck out swinging on a wild pitch by Ball. The next batter, sophomore Keith Stewart, laid down a bunt to third but freshman Brandon McArthur uncorked a wild throw past sophomore Matt LaPorta at first. Backing up the play, sophomore Adam Davis tried to catch Reynolds at the plate but his throw sailed into the visitor’s dugout, allowing both Reynolds and Stewart to score, cutting the deficit to 5-2. Still with none out, senior Brad Woods grounded into a fielder’s choice to short with the bases loaded that pushed senior Drew Grosse across the dish for another run. That was followed by Graham Maiden’s sacrifice fly to center to bring across sophomore Adam Brown. Ball minimized the damage by getting two fly balls to end the inning.

In all, the Bucs scored four runs on only two hits, but were aided by three Florida errors and a wild pitch. The three errors in the inning brought the total to 10 for the series for UF. However, the defense regrouped and finished strong.

"It was a sort of ‘here we go again’ situation," said McMahon. "But, to our guys’ credit they stopped that and wouldn’t let it get out of hand."

The Gators were able to get two of those runs back in the fourth. McArthur led off the frame with his first career base hit, a single to left. Dickey followed with a single of his own to right and two batters later scored on wild pitch with the bases loaded and Corsaletti at bat. Corsaletti gathered his fifth run batted in of the game with a fielder’s choice to third to score Davis and increase the margin to 7-4.

It was a day of firsts for McArthur after sitting out yesterday’s match-up with a leg injury. "I’m so happy for Brandon," said McMahon. "He’s worked so hard to get back and is starting to see the ball at the plate much better."

Jeroloman started the fifth by working his fourth free pass in the last two games and two batters later freshman Bryson Barber earned a one-out base on balls to chase Parnell. Freshman Brian Bridges relieved and uncorked a wild pitch on his first delivery to advance the runners with McArthur at the plate. On a 3-1 pitch, the rookie third baseman notched his first RBI as a Gator when he lofted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Jeroloman, to give the Gators a four-run cushion, 8-4.

UF effectively wrapped the game up in the seventh by sending 11 men to the plate and tallying seven runs. Tordi drew a walk to begin the stanza and freshman pinch hitter Jared Kubin was plunked. With McArthur at the plate, both runners were safe on a double steal attempt and Tordi came around to score when Stewart’s throw sailed into centerfield for a throwing error as neither middle infielder covered the bag.

On the next pitch he saw, McArthur lined a double off the left field fence, barely missing a home run, to bring home Kubin. McArthur was erased on a fielder’s choice to short by Dickey and Davis followed with a hit by pitch, the fourth on the afternoon by the Bucs’ pitching staff and second of the inning. Barton then smashed a ground ball to second that sophomore Drew Grosse could not handle, allowing Dickey to score the third run of the inning. With one out, Corsaletti stepped to the plate and lined a single to left to plate Davis for his sixth RBI of the game. Still with only one down, LaPorta joined the hit parade and crushed a 2-2 offering from Bridges deep over the bleachers in left, scoring Corsaletti and junior pinch runner Chris Woods, for his first hit of the season and a 15-4 Florida lead.

CSU added two runs in the top of the ninth when Woods drove in two of his teammates with a bases-loaded double down the left field line to narrow the gap to 15-6. However, it was too little, too little late and freshman reliever Josh Edmondson closed out the game with a strikeout of senior Jordan Haar.

Freshman Bryan Augenstein relieved Ball to start the seventh frame and hurled two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only one hit while whiffing one batter.

"He really pitched well with great velocity," noted Coach McMahon. "He can pitch right away in this league and be successful for us."

Besides Corsaletti, who contributed three hits, Barton (2-for-5, two runs) and McArthur (2-for-2, two RBI) turned in multiple-hit efforts for the Gators. For the Buccaneers, seven different players chipped in with a hit, while Woods paced the squad by driving in two runs.

Florida will face Florida A&M on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. before the #2-ranked Miami Hurricanes invade Gainesville for a three-game set next weekend.

Game Notes:

  • The seven runs scored by the Gators in the seventh inning matched their run total from the first two games of the series.
  • Florida’s 15 runs were its most since a 22-8 win over Auburn on May 2, 2004.
  • Jeff Corsaletti also had six RBI in a 12-1 romp over Central Connecticut State at the NCAA Oklahoma City Regional on June 4, 2004.
  • Bryan Ball’s seven strikeouts matched his showing against Miami (Fla.) on June 1, 2003.
  • Matt LaPorta’s home run was the 15th of his career to lead all active Gators.
  • Pitchers Bryan Augenstein and Josh Edmondson each made his collegiate debut this afternoon.
  • Corsaletti and Gavin Dickey crossed the plate three times apiece.
  • UF’s pitching staff issued four walks over 29 innings in the series, compared to six today by Charleston Southern.
  • The Gators had four innings in which they scored multiple runs after totaling zero on Friday and Saturday.
  • UF had four stolen bases in four attempts, while CSU was 0-for-2 on the basepaths.

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