Saturday March 12, 2005Gator Baseball Downs Michigan State, 13-2
Florida erupted for five runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to turn a 2-1 lead into a 13-2 victory over Michigan State on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium in front of 2,138 spectators. The Gators (14-4) have out-scored the Spartans (5-5) by a 30-3 margin entering tomorrow’s series finale at noon. Senior Tommy Boss (Dunnellon, Fla.) worked 5.2 innings to raise his mark to 3-0, while every UF starter either scored or contributed at least one of the club’s 12 hits. Freshman Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.) went 2-for-4 and notched three RBI for the second outing in a row, with sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) and freshman Brandon McArthur (Tampa, Fla.) chipping in two hits apiece.
For the third-straight game, the Gators scored in their first at bat. Senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) smacked a leadoff double to the wall in center and sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) moved him to third with a ground ball. Freshman Craig Brookes struck out junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) but Corsaletti raced home on a passed ball during sophomore Matt LaPorta’s (Port Charlotte, Fla.) turn at the plate to begin the scoring.
Michigan State mounted a rally in the second against Boss but came away empty-handed. Sophomore Sean Walker ripped a double to straightaway center field to start the inning and advanced to third on a well-placed bunt single by junior Oliver Walcott. The right-hander caught junior Alan Cattryse looking at strike three and then had sophomore Troy Krider grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Sophomore Ryan Basham earned a free pass from Boss to start the fourth, the first walk the righty had issued this season and later reached second on a wild pitch. A base-hit into left field by senior Erik Morris left the Spartans with runners on the corners and none out. Although Walker tapped into a 6-4-3 double play, Basham came across to tie the game.
UF regained the lead in the bottom of the stanza, as Davis was hit by a pitch from Brookes and stole second base for his seventh theft of the season. Barton followed with an RBI single into right field and later collected his seventh stolen base of the campaign with one down to move into scoring position. A wild pitch enabled the Barton to occupy third, but Brookes retired junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) on strikes to close the inning.
Sophomore Adam Tripp opened the sixth with a single up the middle and wound up on third courtesy of back-to-back groundouts by freshman Ryan Sontag and Basham. McMahon decided to replace Boss with senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) and the move paid immediate dividends when the reliever induced a ground ball by Erik Morris that was scooped up by freshman third baseman McArthur and thrown over to LaPorta to hold the margin at 2-1.
The Gators broke the game open by putting five runs on the scoreboard in the sixth on two hits and a pair of Michigan State errors for a 7-1 advantage. Sophomore John Dwan replaced Brookes (5.0 IP, 4 H) and threw eight consecutive balls to Davis and Barton before being lifted in favor of junior Chris Toepper. The Gators executed a double steal and Davis wound up scoring when the catcher’s relay throw to third ended up in left field. LaPorta drew a walk to leave runners on the corners and the sophomore promptly stole second base. After Leclerc grounded out, MSU made its third pitching change of the inning by bringing in freshman Mike Takashima. Tordi dragged a bunt that the pitcher fielded and threw to the plate, only to have the catcher drop the ball. Still with runners perched on second and third, LaPorta boosted UF’s lead to 5-1 by scoring on a wild pitch. Sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) drew a free pass and Kubin and sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) followed with back-to-back RBI single. McArthur stroked a base-hit but Kubin was gunned down at the plate on a perfect relay throw from the right fielder to the dish.
The offensive onslaught by Florida continued in the seventh, as the home team tallied five more runs on four hits and another MSU miscue. Barton drew a leadoff walk, stole second and then increased the margin to 8-1 after he stole third and the catcher overthrew the third baseman. LaPorta walked, Leclerc punched a single into shallow center and Jeroloman coaxed a base on balls with one to fill the sacks. A wild pitch by Takashima enabled LaPorta to come across and Kubin followed with a two-run single to boost his squad’s lead to 11-1. Junior Chris Woods (Gainesville, Fla.) greeted freshman reliever Tony Clausen with a Texas Leaguer for a single and McArthur singled to load the bases again. A fielder’s choice by Davis plated Kubin with the Gators’ 12th run of the contest.
LaPorta roped a single to left in the bottom of the eighth against Sontag and Leclerc followed with a walk before the lefty sat down the next two UF batters. Junior pinch hitter Daniel Brooks (Tampa, Fla.) walked to load the bases and Woods earned Florida’s 10th walk of the game for a 13-1 lead. The Spartans finalized the margin on a RBI single by sophomore E.J. Daws off freshman reliever Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.).
Falkenbach worked 2.1 scoreless innings in which he gave up one hit, while Edmondson gave up one hit and a run in the ninth. Brookes dropped to 0-1 and was followed by five other Spartan hurlers who combined to allow 11 runs and eight hits over three frames. UF will send freshman Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) (2-0, 1.84 ERA) to the hill tomorrow to face MSU junior Chris Malec (1-0, 4.22 ERA).