Saturday March 19, 2005Ole Miss Evens Series With UF Baseball, 10-4
No. 14 Ole Miss overcame a 2-1 deficit with four runs in the third inning on its way to a 10-4 victory over No. 6 Florida on Saturday afternoon at Oxford-University Stadium at Swayze Field. The Rebels (16-4, 1-1 SEC) sent nine batters to the plate in the third to chase Gator junior starter Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.), who was tagged for five runs and five hits in 2.2 innings for the Gators (16-5, 1-1 SEC).
Junior All-American Stephen Head not only improved to 4-0 by registering a career-high nine strikeouts and scattering seven hits over eight innings, he was 3-for-4 with three runs, three RBI and bashed his second homer of the series. Junior Brian Pettway (2-for-3, three RBI) chipped in with two homers as Ole Miss banged out 11 hits and swatted four homers, the most allowed by Florida pitching this season.
Sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) drew a one-out walk from Head in the opening frame on a 3-2 pitch and promptly stole both second and third to increase his team-leading theft total to 11 bases. Sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was walked intentionally on a 3-2 pitch to give the Gators runners on the corners. The Rebels worked out of the jam with a double play, as Head struck out sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) and LaPorta was thrown out attempting to steal second base.
After Horne put down UM in order, sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) roped a one-out double down the right field line in the second inning. However, a fielderís choice by freshman Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.) to short erased his teammate at third base and sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) was called out on strikes.
Sophomore Mark Wright provided the Rebels with a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second with his fourth homer of the campaign, a 368-foot shot over left field wall. UF answered in the third on two-run jack by LaPorta with Davis aboard to take a 2-1 lead. Davis had smacked a two-out double to left center before his teammate launched his second homer of the series to right field on a 2-1 offering from Head for his eighth round-tripper of 2005.
The Rebels erupted for four runs on four hits in the home portion of third to snag a 5-2 advantage. Sophomore Alex Presley poked a leadoff single to left and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by senior Barry Gunter. After Horne walked senior Cooper Osteen on four pitches, sophomore Chris Coghlan sliced a base-hit into right field to load the bases. With Head at the plate, Horne let loose a wild pitch to bring across Presley with the tying run and Head cleared the bases with a two-run double down the right-field line for a 4-2 UM lead. Soon after, Horne walked Pettway on four pitches and uncorked another wild pitch to leave Ole Miss with runners on first and third with one down. The righty caught Wright looking on strikes but freshman Justin Henry ripped a single up the middle to give the hosts a three-run cushion and chase Horne (2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 K, 2 BB) from the game. Freshman Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) retired freshman Zack Cozart on a grounder to stop the bleeding.
UM tacked on another run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Osteen. Presley poked a leadoff double, took third on Gunterís second sacrifice bunt of the contest and came home on a sac fly to left. The Rebels increased their lead to 8-2 in the fifth when Pettway extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a two-run homer into the left-field terrace off Locke. Head had begun UMís turn at the plate with a hard single and Pettway followed with his seventh four-bagger of the year.
Florida put a couple of runners aboard against Head in the sixth courtesy of singles by Davis and Leclerc but came away empty-handed. The southpaw fanned junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) and had Jeroloman ground out to keep the count at 8-2. The following inning, UF had back-to-back hits by Dickey and freshman Brandon McArthur (Tampa, Fla.) with one down and Head responded by setting down Corsaletti and Davis on fly outs.
Head cranked his seventh homer of the season in the bottom of the seventh with a 385-foot blast onto the hill beyond the right-field fence to spell the end for Locke (3.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER). Pettway greeted rookie Michael Branham (Tampa, Fla.) by smacking his second homer of the afternoon with a 400-foot blast to left for a 10-2 lead. It marked the third time this season Head and Pettway had delivered consecutive homers.
After Jeroloman led off the ninth with a single off freshman reliever Will Kline, freshman pinch hitter Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) belted his first career home run to right field to pull the visitors to within 10-4. It was the first pinch-hit HR for the Gators since Dickey went deep against Northwestern on Feb. 29, 2004. Following a walk to Dickey, junior pinch hitter Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and Corsaletti flew out to end the game.
In addition to Head and Pettway, Presley (2-for-4) also turned in a multiple-hit effort for the Rebels. Davis was 2-for-3 and Jerolman was 2-for-4 to pace the Orange and Blue. Senior Tommy Boss (Dunnellon, Fla.) (3-0, 4.24 ERA) will close the series for the Gators tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT against Ole Miss junior Anthony Cupps (3-1, 4.01 ERA).