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Tuesday February 15, 2005Leclerc's Three HR Power Gators Past FAMU, 17-2

Gainesville, FL

Florida’s offense exploded for season highs in runs (17), hits (16) and home runs (five) en route to a 17-2 triumph over Florida A&M at McKethan Stadium on Tuesday night. Sophomore Brian Leclerc belted home runs in his first three at-bats and senior Jeff Corsaletti added two four-baggers of his own as the duo combined for 11 RBI on the evening. The Gators (3-1) notched their third straight win and kept the Rattlers (0-10) winless on the season.

Leclerc, who had not played since the season opener on Feb. 11, connected on a solo shot in the second and two-run bombs in both the third and fourth innings. Meanwhile, Corsaletti collected six RBI for the second outing in a row via two-run dingers in the first and third and a two-run single in the second.

Freshman starting pitcher Stephen Locke spun four strong innings to earn the victory in his first career appearance. The righty from Tampa, Fla., allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out four without a walk. He was lifted prior to the fifth inning because of a predetermined pitch count.

Florida immediately took charge of the game in its first opportunity. Corsaletti continued his power surge by blasting an opposite field home run to left centerfield off FAMU starter Michael Tavernier. The blast scored junior Stephen Barton, who had reached on a one-out error by the second baseman. The two runs in the first stanza marked the third straight game that UF scored in its initial trip to the plate.

The Gators padded their cushion in the second inning. Leclerc led off the frame with his first dinger of the season to left centerfield for his first hit and run batted in of the season. With two outs and sophomore Adam Davis aboard on a fielder’s choice, Barton pushed Davis to third with a lined single to left. A wild pitch moved Barton into scoring position with Corsaletti at the dish and the senior poked a full count, two-run single that found a hole between the centerfielder and shortstop to push the UF advantage to 5-0.

The UF offense supplied Locke with even more run support in the third. Leclerc hit his second bomb of the game with one down, a long fly to left to plate sophomore Brian Jeroloman, who was on board after a hit by pitch to lead off the frame. After the second out was recorded, freshman Brandon McArthur blooped a single to left and Davis followed with a strikeout but was safe at first because of a wild pitch. Barton then slapped a two-run double to left to plate both baserunners and force a pitching change. Junior Carl Johnson came out of the bullpen and got two quick strikes on Corsaletti, but he would not go down quietly. The Port Charlotte, Fla., product became the second batter of the inning to smack his second homer of the night with a two-run shot to left making the score 11-0 in favor of the Orange and Blue.

After FAMU junior designated hitter Stephen Stiffler hit a solo homer in the top of the fourth to cut the margin to 11-1, Leclerc got the run back plus one more with his third round-tripper of the ballgame in the bottom half. Jeroloman had walked to lead off the frame, and the Gator rightfielder launched his ninth career home run over the scoreboard in right for his fourth and fifth RBI on the evening to give the hosts a commanding 13-1 advantage.

The Gators tacked on a four more runs in the sixth to make the score 17-2. Jeroloman started things off with a double to left center and moved to third on a single to left by Tordi. Leclerc walked to load the bases for freshman pinch hitter Bryson Barber. After a wild pitch advanced the runners and plated a run, Barber lofted a sacrifice fly to deep center to score Tordi from third and Leclerc all the way from second. The two RBI were the first two of Barber’s career. Sophomore Gavin Dickey pinch-hit for the next batter, McArthur, and lined a single to left. Davis followed with a double down the left field line that rattled around the Gator bullpen to bring home Dickey from first for his first run batted in of the season.

The Gator bullpen turned in a terrific performance to finish out the game. Freshmen relievers Michael Branham and Tommy Wynn and junior Christian Madson combined to hurl five innings, giving up one unearned run on one hit while striking out nine without issuing a base on balls.

Corsaletti (3-for-4, six RBI, two runs), Leclerc (3-for-3, five RBI, four runs), Barton (2-for-5, three runs, two RBI) and Jeroloman (2-for-2, three runs, two doubles) powered the Gator offense, while four players contributed one hit apiece for FAMU. Tavernier (0-2) was on the hook for the defeat after being tagged for 10 runs (nine earned ) on nine hits in 2.2 innings.

UF will now turn its attention to preparing for second-ranked Miami (Fla.) (7-0), as the Hurricanes will visit McKethan Stadium for three games this weekend. The squads will open the series on Friday night at 6:30 p.m.

Game Notes:

  • The two runs in the first inning for the Gators marked the third consecutive game that UF has scored in its first trip to the plate.
  • Brian Leclerc is the first Gator to have multiple homers in a game since Matt LaPorta hit two at Tennessee on May 22, 2004.
  • Leclerc became the first Gator to sock three homers in a game since Ryan Shealy belted three versus Ole Miss on March 15, 2002.
  • Leclerc was the first Gator with home runs in three consecutive at-bats since Tony Socarras connected three times versus Miami (Fla.) (2/12/00, 9th; 2/13/00, 1st and 4th).
  • Both of Leclerc’s homers off of FAMU starting pitcher Michael Tavernier came on the first pitch of the at bat.
  • Leclerc’s five RBI were a career high.
  • Ben Harrison was the last UF player to homer in consecutive at bats, accomplishing the feat versus Alabama on May 8, 2004, connecting in the seventh and ninth innings against the Crimson Tide.
  • Florida’s five home runs eclipsed its 2004 season-high set of four set on May 22 at Tennessee.
  • Jeff Corsaletti has driven in six runs two-straight games, equaling his career-high.
  • Rookie Bryson Barber notched the first two RBI of his career,
  • Freshman Matt Gaski collected his initial collegiate hit.
  • In his first collegiate appearance, freshman Tommy Wynn struck out four of the six batters he faced.
  • The Gator pitching staff did not permit any walks for the second time this season.

-UF-

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