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Sunday March 6, 2005Gators Work Extra to Capture Series Against Villanova, 6-5

Gainesville, FL

After Villanova tied the game at 5-5 with a three-run homer in the eighth, No. 8 Florida used four straight walks in the bottom of the 10th to take a 6-5 decision on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. After dropping Friday’s opener, the Gators (11-3) defeated the Wildcats (5-3-1) twice to improve to 4-0 in weekend series this season.

With the sacks full and two outs, freshman Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.) drew a base on balls on a 3-2 pitch from sophomore Nate Hall, allowing sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) to score the winning run. Junior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) hurled 2.1 scoreless innings in relief to boost his season ledger to 3-1, while rookie Ryan Wendler (0-1) suffered the loss after loading the bases before being lifted in favor of Hall.

"Villanova has an outstanding ballclub," said Pat McMahon. "They made all the plays, so it was a very exciting series for our team. We have a scrappy bunch of guys who are going to go out and play hard every game. We were pleased that Darren (O’Day) did a wonderful job in relief for us."

Florida had a runner reach third base with none out in the second but did not score. Sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) deposited a leadoff ground-rule double over the center field wall and advanced to third on a wild pitch from freshman Kevin Mulvey. The righty fanned Leclerc for his fourth strikeout and LaPorta was thrown out at the plate when junior Justin Tordi’s (Orlando, Fla.) bunt was fielded cleanly by the Wildcat first baseman and fired to the catcher. Tordi was then nailed attempting to steal second base to end the frame.

A two-out single up the middle by Villanova rookie Derek Shunk off senior Tommy Boss (Dunnellon, Fla.) in the third brought home freshman Ryan Arcadia with the game’s opening run. Arcadia had opened the inning with a base-hit into center and moved to second a ground ball by junior Kris Molloy that resulted in the second out. Shunk connected on Boss’ 1-1 offering to help the Wildcats draw first blood for the second time in the series. Villanova extended its lead to 2-0 in the fourth on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Andy Wendle that scored freshman James Dolbier. Dolbier had reached on a bunt with one down and senior Alan Day roped a single to give the ‘Cats runners on the corners.

The Gators answered in the bottom of the stanza, when Mulvey committed a balk that allowed junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) to stroll home from third to cut the deficit in half. Barton and sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) had poked back-to-back singles to start things off before senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. LaPorta and Leclerc earned consecutive two-out walks but Mulvey worked out of the jam by having Tordi fly out to center.

UF grabbed a 4-2 lead in the fifth with three runs on four hits and a critical Villanova error. Sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) walked to start the inning and Kubin looped a bouncing ball just beyond the third baseman’s reach and was safe at first. Junior Daniel Brooks (Tampa, Fla.) beat out a bunt for a hit but the ensuing relay throw by junior Angelo Petracca on the hot corner was thrown away, allowing Jeroloman and Kubin to score. With Brooks now perched on third, Barton grounded out before Davis poked an RBI single to give the hosts a two-run advantage. After Corsaletti extended his hitting streak to six games with a single into right that pushed Davis into scoring position, Mulvey struck out LaPorta and Wendle caught Davis trying to steal third to close the frame.

The Gators added a run in the seventh on a two-out single into field by Corasaletti that plated Barton to move in front, 5-2. Barton had reached on an error by Petracca and stole second for his team-leading six theft of the season. Molloy coaxed a leadoff walk from senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) in the eighth but Florida turned a 4-6-3 double play on a grounder by Shunk. Petracca smoked a single into left and junior Jeremy Hunt singled to give VU runners on first and third with two down. Dobier picked an opportune time for his first career home run by belting a 2-0 pitch from Falkenbach into the left field bleachers to square the game at 5-5.

In the home portion of the eighth, Tordi laced a one-out single into left off senior reliever Mike Grodecki and should have been erased at second on Jeroloman’s fielder’s choice. However, an errant relay throw ended up in center field to give UF a pair of runners on base. A fielder’s choice by Kubin resulted in Jeroloman being forced at second and Tordi was thrown out 4-6-2 at home plate. The Gators’ starting shortstop was ejected moments later following the violent collision with junior catcher Jim Gillin.

Sophomore pinch hitter Alex Bardeguez led off the ninth with a single before O’Day whiffed Arcadia. Senior Mark Cardillo stroked a base-hit to give Villanova two runners aboard but the southpaw fanned Molloy for the second out. O’Day attempted to pick Bardeguez off second base but instead threw the ball into center field. UF was called for interfering with the runner and Bardeguez was awarded third base. O’Day had Shunk ground out to freshman Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) to strand the runner.

With two down in the 10th, Wendler issued back-to-back-to-back walks to Leclerc, freshman pinch hitter Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) and Jeroloman to load the bases. Villanova replaced Wendler with sophomore Nate Hall and the reliever walked Kubin to end the game. Corsaletti and Davis were 2-for-5 to lead Florida, with Dolbier and Shunk collected two hits apiece for the Wildcats. The Gators will next host UNC Asheville in a two-game series at McKethan Stadium beginning on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Game Notes:

  • Florida improved to 4-0 in weekend series this season and is also a perfect 4-0 on Sunday afternoons.
  • Connor Falkenbach’s streak of 20 consecutive innings this year without allowing a walk ended with two down in the seventh.
  • Starting pitcher Tommy Boss worked 5.2 innings, giving up seven hits and two runs with two strikeouts.
  • Stephen Barton’s six stolen bases are a career high, he was 5-for-6 on the basepaths as a rookie in 2004.
  • The Gators improved to 2-1 in extra-inning games this season.
  • UF’s pitching staff registered seven strikeouts and permitted just two walks.
  • Florida was out-hit in all three games by Villanova.

-UF-

 

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