Saturday March 26, 2005Baseball Evens Series With 7-3 Triumph Over USC
Following a three-hour, 31-minute weather delay, No. 11 Florida evened its Southeastern Conference series against No. 6 South Carolina with a 7-3 victory on Saturday night at McKethan Stadium. The Gators (18-7/2-3 SEC) snapped a 1-1 tie with three runs in the third, highlighted by a bases-loaded walk to junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) and a two-run double by sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.), and tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth to upend the Gamecocks (19-4/2-3 SEC).
Senior Tommy Boss (Dunnellon, Fla.) improved to 4-1 by working 5.1 innings, with junior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) collecting his second save with 1.2 scoreless innings. Senior Zac McCamie (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season and fell to 12-1 all-time at South Carolina. Junior RHP Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.) (1-2, 6.26 ERA) will pitch tomorrow’s finale at 1:05 p.m. for Florida against Gamecock senior RHP Jason Fletcher (2-0, 1.50 ERA).
The Gamecocks opened the scoring in the third on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Jon Willard that brought across junior Chris Brown. Brown had extended his hitting streak to six games with a one-out single and senior Steve Pearce executed a hit-and-run to give Carolina runners on the corners. Following Willard’s sac fly to center, junior Michael Campbell poked a single into right center to give USC runners on first and third again. Boss worked out of the jam with a strikeout of sophomore Tommy King.
A throwing error with two outs in the bottom of the third by USC junior shortstop Steven Tolleson allowed sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) to score the tying run. Dickey had roped a leadoff double and freshman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) followed with a walk from McCamie before the right-hander set down senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) on strikes. A fielder’s choice by Barton moved the Gator duo into scoring position and the relay throw of the ground ball from Davis was wide of first base, resulting in a 1-1 count. Sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases but sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) lined out to left to end the inning.
The Gators seized their first lead of the series in the fourth by tallying three runs with two out for a 4-1 lead. Junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) laced a one-out single into left and McArthur’s base-hit to right center was followed by a walk to Corsaletti to fill the sacks. Barton drew a free pass from McCamie on four pitches to move UF in front, 2-1, and Davis’ liner to right fell in despite a diving effort by senior Brendan Winn for a double.
Helped by a pair of Florida errors in the sixth, South Carolina pulled to within 4-3. Willard opened the frame with a single before Campbell sent a drive to the warning track that Corsaletti made a running grab of at the wall for the first out. Boss (5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 K, 0 BB) was then replaced by senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.). LaPorta fielded a ground ball from King but threw wildly of second base to allow Willard to occupy third. A fielding error by McArthur at third base enabled Willard to score and sophomore pinch hitter Ryan Mahoney lofted a sacrifice fly to left to trim UF’s lead to a run. Falkenbach retired junior Davy Gregg to keep the hosts on top.
After Willard improved to 3-for-3 with a single through the left side of the infield to begin the eighth, McMahon elected to replace Falkenbach with sophomore Stephen Porter (Ocoee, Fla.). The move paid off when the lefty had Campbell ground out to short, advancing junior pinch runner Joey Friddle to second. O’Day came out of the bullpen and retired junior pinch hitter Neil Giesler (groundout) and Winn (strikeout) to preserve the lead.
The Gators added three runs in the home portion of the eighth to finalize the margin at 7-3. Corsaletti drew a one-out walk from junior reliever Brent Marsh and raced down to second on a wild pitch. After Barton earned a base on balls, Adam Davis smoked a single off the bag at second base into center to drive in Corsaletti and Barton also scored a throwing error by the center field. Davis sprinted home on a passed ball for UF’s final run of the evening.
South Carolina out-hit Florida, 10-7, as Willard (3-for-3), Pearce (2-for-4) and Tolleson (2-for-5) had multiple-hit outings. Davis finished 3-for-5 with three RBI to lead the Orange and Blue.