Friday March 11, 2005UF Baseball Defeats Michigan State, 17-1
Sixth-ranked Florida banged out 14 hits, including three homers as part of a seven-run fifth inning, to coast to a 17-1 win over Michigan State on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. The offensive support was more than enough for junior right-hander Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.), who improved to 4-0 by working a career-high eight innings in which he allowed six hits and registered three strikeouts. Freshman Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.) enjoyed a tremendous night, going 3-for-4 (single, triple, homer) with three RBI as the Gators (13-4) claimed their first meeting with the Spartans (5-4) since the 1965 season.
"We have to give a lot of credit to Bryan Ball," said Pat McMahon. "He threw the ball in the strike zone consistently and pitched well. Offensively, we showed patience at the plate and the result was many quality at bats. Jeff (Corsaletti) also did a wonderful job at the top of the order."
Ball retired the Spartans on 11 pitches to start the game, and the Gators jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead soon after. Senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.), batting leadoff for the first time in his collegiate career, opened with a hard single to left field to increase his hitting streak to nine games. After sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) was hit by a pitch from junior Tim Day, junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) popped up a bunt attempt. Sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was plunked to fill the bases before the right-hander responded with a strikeout of sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.). Returning to the lineup after missing Wednesday night’s game, junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) poked a two-run single up the middle to put the hosts on the board.
The Spartans answered with a run on three hits in the second inning to cut the deficit in half. Senior Erik Morris started things off with a base-hit into left field and took third on a one-out single by junior Oliver Wolcott. With runners on the corners, freshman Ryan Sontag legged out a hit to short to drive home MSU’s first run. Ball escaped the jam by having rookie Tony Clausen hit into an inning-ending double play.
Helped by three Michigan State errors, UF erupted for four runs in the second to build a 6-1 cushion. Kubin stroked a leadoff single into center and sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) beat out a bunt before Corsaletti cleared the bases with a double. Davis laid down a bunt to push Corsaletti to third and wound up reaching on a throwing error by Day. Davis swiped his sixth stolen base of the season to move into scoring position and a sacrifice fly by Barton extended UF’s lead to 5-1. An RBI grounder from LaPorta plated Davis with an earned run and the Gators would load the bases when Leclerc’s fly ball was dropped and Jeroloman was hit by a pitch with two down. The home team could not capitalize further, as the 10th batter of the inning, Kubin, flew out to center.
Florida used a two-out, two-RBI triple in the fourth by Kubin to assume an 8-1 lead. LaPorta doubled down the left field line to begin the frame before Day retired the next two batters. The right-hander hit Jeroloman before Kubin rocked a 1-1 offering into the triangle in straightaway center field for his first career triple.
A seven-run fifth, highlighted by a trio of big flies, ballooned the Gators’ advantage to 15-1. Clausen relieved Day and issued consecutive walks to Corsaletti and Davis before Barton’s sacrifice gave UF runners on second and third. Following a pitching change, LaPorta drew a base on balls from freshman Chris Cullen to fill the sacks. Leclerc stepped to the dish and belted his first career grand slam to right field to move the Orange and Blue in front, 12-1. The blast was the fifth of the season for the sophomore. After a free pass to Tordi, Jeroloman launched his third homer of the campaign over the right field wall to tack two more runs on the board and chase Cullen from the hill. Kubin greeted rookie reliever Matt Trausch with his first career round-tripper, a shot into the left field bleachers. The back-to-back dingers were the first for Florida since the duo of Ben Harrison and Mario Garza went yard against Miami (Fla.) on June 1, 2003.
The Gators’ lead continued to grow in the seventh, as McMahon’s club plated two runs on two hits and two Michigan State errors to complete the scoring at 17-1. Tordi and Jeroloman opened with singles and freshman pinch hitter Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) reached on a throwing miscue to load the bases. A fielder’s choice by Dickey brought home Tordi and Jeroloman later scored when freshman pinch hitter Brandon McArthur’s (Tampa, Fla.) ground ball was misplayed.
For UF, the quartet of Corsaletti (3-for-4), Jeroloman (2-for-3, three runs, two RBI), Kubin and Tordi (2-for-4, two runs, two RBI) turned in multiple-hit outings. Six different players accounted for the Spartan offense, while Michigan State used five pitchers. Day (2-1) absorbed his first loss by giving up nine hits and eight runs (seven earned) over four innings. Florida senior right-hander Tommy Boss (2-0, 5.09 ERA) will oppose Spartan freshman RHP Craig Brookes (0-0, 5.00 ERA) at 2 p.m. in game two of the series.