Wednesday March 9, 2005UNCA's Ninth-Inning Rally Dooms Gators, 8-5
UNC Asheville snapped a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning with four unearned runs to collect an 8-5 decision over Florida on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. With the bases loaded and two down, junior pinch hitter Charles Pippitt was hit by a pitch from junior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) to move the Bulldogs (4-6) in front and sophomore Evan Dawson followed with a bases-clearing double as added insurance. UNCA tallied four runs in both the fourth and ninth frames to halt the Gators’ (12-4) three-game winning streak to earn a split of the series. The home team loaded the bases and scored a run in its last at bat but could not move any closer.
Sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) singled up the middle with one out in the first for the Gators and moved into scoring position with his fifth stolen base of the season. With two down, sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) poked a base-hit into shallow right field past the diving UNCA second baseman to plate Davis with the opening run. UF scored in the first inning for the ninth time and had been 8-0 when scoring first.
Bulldog freshman Alan DeRatt drew a leadoff walk in the third but was erased at second base on sophomore Justin Wilkins’ sacrifice attempt that was fielded cleanly by freshman Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) and thrown to Davis covering the bag. Following a flyout by rookie Kevin Mattison, Wilkins advanced to second on a throwing error by UF during an errant pick-off attempt. Undaunted, Augenstein struck out freshman Tony Campana to end the frame.
UNC Asheville erupted for four runs on six hits in the fourth to assume a 4-1 lead. Senior Josh Coyle delivered UNCA’s first hit of the night to start things off with a slow roller up the third-base line and freshman Elliot Arrington followed with a bunt single to give the Bulldogs a pair of runners aboard. Junior Nathan Durham sliced an RBI single into right that tied the game and left his team with runners on the corners and none out. Freshman Johnny Martinez moved the visitors in front with his squad’s fourth-straight hit, a run-scoring single into right field that plated Arrington and chased Augenstein from the game.
Sophomore Evan Dawson greeted senior reliever Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) with an RBI grounder to give UNC Asheville a 3-1 lead and DeRatt came through with a RBI flare into center to plate the Bulldogs’ fourth run. The hit parade continued, as Wilkins notched the sixth single of the inning to give his club runners on first and second. Falkenbach retired the next two batters to prevent further damage.
Florida answered with two runs in the fifth against freshman reliever Tim Johnson to close the gap to 4-3. Junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) earned a walk and came around to score on senior Jeff Corsaletti’s (Port Charlotte, Fla.) single when the right fielder had an errant relay throw. Corsaletti swiped third base and raced home when UNC Asheville catcher Wilkins overthrew his toss back to the pitcher with two out.
DeRatt stroked a leadoff single to right in the sixth and was pushed over to second on a bunt by Wilkins, prompting a UF pitching change. Sophomore left-hander Stephen Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) entered the game and issued back-to-back walks to Mattison and Campana to load the sacks with one down. O’Day then came out of the bullpen and promptly induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play by Coyle to end the threat and strand the runners.
A two-out single up the middle by sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) in the home portion of the seventh squared the contest at 4-4. Sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) punched a one-out single off UNCA’s third pitcher of the night, freshman Graham Baughn, and took second on freshman Brandon McArthur’s (Tampa, Fla.) grounder. Dickey poked Baughn’s initial offering to tie the game, stole second and then occupied third when the pitcher’s pick-off attempt wound up in center field. The right-hander responded by having Barton tap out to second base to preserve the stalemate.
Campana beat out an infield hit with one down in the ninth and McArthur committed an error on Coyle’s grounder, leaving the Bulldogs with runners on second and third. O’Day walked Arrington intentionally to fill the bases and fanned Durham for out number two. However, the righty plunked Pippitt to bring across Campana with the go-ahead run. A bases-clearing double by Dawson gave the Bulldogs an 8-4 lead.
The Gators loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame against junior reliever Ryan Stewart courtesy of a one-out walk to Dickey and a two-out walk to Corsaletti before the hurler hit LaPorta. Leclerc earned a free pass to pull to his club within 8-5 but Stewart retired freshman Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game. Florida will resume action on Friday night when it meets Michigan State in the opener of a three-game series at McKethan Stadium.
Baughn (1-0) worked three innings, in which he gave up two hits and a run, to earn the victory. Dawson (1-for-5) recorded four RBI to lead UNC Asheville, while Arrington and DeRatt were each 2-for-4. O’Day (3.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 BB) fell to 3-2 with the defeat.