Tuesday March 22, 2005No. 11 Baseball Overpowers No. 20 UCF, 17-6
Sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) went 3-for-5 and established a career high with seven runs batted in to lift No. 11 Florida to a 17-6 victory over No. 20 UCF on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. Senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was 5-for-5 with four RBI and three runs for the Gators (17-6). The teams endured a 57-minute weather delay between 8:57-9:54 p.m. before completing their first meeting since 1999.
With the Golden Knights holding a 3-1 lead in the fourth, Davis cranked a three-run homer over the right-field wall to move the Gators in front. After UCF knotted the contest in the top of the sixth, 4-4, Davis roped a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to trigger a four-run outburst for Florida. He later added a run-scoring single in the seventh and an RBI grounder in the eighth to finish with the most RBI by a Gator since Brian Rose had seven against Florida Atlantic on May 31, 2003. Junior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) worked 3.1 innings for the Orange and Blue to improve to 4-2 on the campaign. UCF (23-5) fell for just the third time in its last 21 games.
The Golden Knights threatened in the second, as junior John-Michael Howell and junior Ryan Bono each singled to right off freshman Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) to begin the frame. Sophomore catcher Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) picked Bono off first and Howell was retired at third on a fielder’s choice by senior Marshall Bernhard. Jeroloman helped UF get out of the inning by gunning down Bernhard attempting to steal second.
UCF grabbed a 3-0 lead in the third on a RBI double to right center field by senior Kevin Richmond and a two-run homer by sophomore Matt Ray. Augenstein had issued a one-out walk to Courtney Propst and committed a throwing error to advance the runner into scoring position. Richmond deposited a ground-rule double over the wall in center to plate Propst with the game’s opening run and Ray followed with his first career round-tripper over the right field fence to end Augentstein’s evening. The right-hander allowed five hits, with one walk and a strikeout, over 2.1 innings.
After senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) set down the next two UCF hitters, Corsaletti began UF’s turn at the plate with his second hit and was sacrificed to second by Davis. LaPorta earned his second free pass for two runners aboard, but junior Taylor Cobb retired sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) on a fly ball and fanned freshman Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.).
Howell and Bono stroked consecutive singles to start UCF’s fourth, but Bernhard grounded into a double play and sophomore first baseman Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) made a diving stab on junior Drew Butera’s hot shot and crawled to first to prevent a run. Soon after, Florida answered with four runs of its own with two down, highlighted by a three-run blast by Davis, to seize a 4-3 advantage. Junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) laced a base-hit to left and sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) dropped in a Texas Leaguer to give the hosts runners on the corners. Corsaletti poked his third single of the game to bring across Barton and Davis cranked Cobb’s next offering deep to right field for his fourth dinger of the campaign.
UCF tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth on a base-hit up the middle by Bono off sophomore reliever Stephen Porter (Ocoee, Fla.). Falkenbach had surrendered a leadoff single to sophomore Matt Horwath and struck out senior Dee Brown before giving way to Porter. The righty popped up Howell for the second out but then uncorked a wild pitch to advance the runner. Bono punched a 2-2 pitch up the middle to score his teammate and force a pitching change. O’Day preserved the tie by inducing a fly out by Bernhard.
The Gators plated four runs on four hits in the bottom of the inning to build an 8-4 cushion. Barton led off with a single and Corsaletti earned a one-out walk from junior Dominic Petracca before Davis cleared the bases with a double to give the hosts a 6-4 lead. LaPorta followed with a run-scoring single to bring in Davis and chase Petracca from the mound. After UCF sophomore Brian Brooks took the hill, LaPorta stole second base for his second theft of the season. Leclerc stroked an RBI single into center for an 8-4 Gator margin, but Kubin grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Following a 57-minute weather delay, Florida added three runs on two hits in the seventh for an 11-4 lead. Junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) struck out with one down but reached first base on a wild pitch by Brooks. The southpaw plunked Barton and Dickey drew a walk to fill the bases. Corsaletti turned on a 2-2 pitch for his fourth hit of the night to put the ninth run on the board and Davis followed with a single to left to set a career high with six RBI. A sacrifice fly by LaPorta resulted in another run.
UCF countered with a run in the top of the eighth on an RBI single by Howell before the Gators tallied six runs on three hits and two Golden Knight errors to boost their margin to 17-5. Facing freshman reliever Jeremy Thorne, freshman pinch hitter Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) lofted a fly ball to left that was dropped, leaving him on second base. A single by Jeroloman moved his teammate to third and Tordi was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks. Barton walked to bring across a run and Dickey delivered an infield hit. Still with none out, Corsaletti bashed a double to right field to drive in two more runs. A fielding error by UCF’s second baseman during Davis’ at bat allowed Corsaletti to score an unearned run.
UF’s top three hitters in the lineup, Corsaletti (5-for-5), Davis (3-for-5) and LaPorta (1-for-3, two RBI, two walks) accounted for nine of the club’s 15 hits. Bono and Ray powered UCF with four hits apiece, while former Gator Howell was 3-for-4.
Falkenbach allowed three hits and a run over three innings and had three K and Porter gave up a hit in 0.1 of an inning before giving way to O’Day. Cobb permitted six hits and four runs over four innings, Petracca (0-1) was charged with the defeat after yielding three hits and four runs in 1.1 IP.
Florida resumes Southeastern Conference action on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. when No. 6 South Carolina (17-3/1-2 SEC) arrives in town for a three-game weekend series. The Gators are 1-2 in league play after playing at Ole Miss, while the Gamecocks hold the same record after facing Arkansas.