Wednesday March 30, 2005Baseball Wins Round One From No. 6 FSU, 9-2
Freshman Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) held No. 6 Florida State scoreless into the sixth inning and No. 7 Florida used a balanced offensive attack to notch a 9-2 victory on Wednesday night in front of 5,678 fans at Dick Howser Stadium. Making his first start since March 13, Locke (4-0) scattered seven hits and was charged with one run in handing the Seminoles (27-6) just their second defeat at home this season. Five different UF batters totaled multiple-hit efforts, with junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) leading the way with a season-high three RBI courtesy of a three-run homer in the fifth.
The win was the first for the Gators (20-7) on the Seminoles’ turf since Feb. 18, 2001 and marked the first triumph by the road team in the last eight games of the series. Powered by a four-run second inning, a three-run fifth and two more scores in the sixth, Florida registered its biggest triumph at FSU since a 12-5 decision on March 6, 1994.
The Gators banged out four hits and sent nine batters to the plate in the second inning off junior Hunter Jones on their way to a 4-0 lead. Sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk and Tordi followed with a double down the left field line. Junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) then put the visitors on the board with a two-run single. A fielder’s choice by sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) erased Barton at second before freshman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) laced a base-hit up the middle. After senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) reached on an error by the shortstop to load the bases with one down, sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) stroked an RBI single into left for a 3-0 margin. Sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) lofted his first sacrifice fly of the season to right field for a four-run advantage.
FSU sophomore Shane Robinson (3-for-5) extended the nation’s longest hitting streak to 38 games in the third inning with a two-out single into center field. However, Jeroloman ended Robinson’s streak of 26 consecutive stolen bases with a perfect throw to Tordi covering the bag to end the inning.
Senior Aaron Cheesman and sophomore Brant Peacher delivered back-to-back one-out singles in the fourth off Locke and sophomore Ryne Malone smoked a liner that hit Peacher, resulting in the second out. The lefty had senior Daniel Wardell pop up to center to strand two runners on base.
UF boosted its cushion to 7-0 in the fifth courtesy of Tordi’s second home run of the campaign, a three-run shot over the left field wall. LaPorta was hit by a pitch with one down and Leclerc singled off the screen in right field before Tordi cranked Jones’ 2-0 offering out of the yard.
Jones (4-1) departed after five innings in which he allowed nine hits and seven runs (six earned), with four strikeouts and a walk. UF pounced on freshman Trent Jarvis and chased the reliever after three-straight hits. McArthur started the frame with a single to left and Corsaletti advanced his teammate to third with a hit into right. Dickey’s second hit of the ballgame brought McArthur across with the Gators’ eighth run and prompted FSU head coach Mike Martin to bring in junior Mark Sauls. After the right-hander retired Davis on an infield fly, a passed ball advanced the runners into scoring position. LaPorta provided the visitors with a 9-0 lead with his third sac fly of the campaign.
Consecutive two-out singles in the bottom of the sixth by Peacher and Malone spelled the end of Locke’s time on the hill. Senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) yielded a single to freshman pinch hitter Jack Rye, loading the bases, and committed a balk to result in FSU’s first run. The right-hander had freshman Ryne Jernigan ground out to close the inning.
Rookie Tony Thomas, Jr., rifled his team-leading fourth triple of the season with one out in the seventh and scored on Robinson’s infield hit to make the score 9-2. Rye drew a one-out walk from Falkenbach in the eighth and took third on a double to the corner in right field by Jernigan. Sophomore reliever Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) retired the lone batter he faced, sophomore pinch hitter Josh Spivey, on a fly ball to left and junior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) struck out Thomas on three pitches to preserve the Gators’ seven-run lead.
For Florida, Barton, Corsaletti, Dickey and McArthur chipped in with two hits apiece, while FSU had four players collect two or more hits en route to a 13-12 advantage in hits. The Gators and Seminoles will meet again on Tuesday, April 19, in Tallahassee and on Tuesday, May 3, at McKethan Stadium. UF resumes Southeastern Conference this weekend by hosting Kentucky beginning on Friday night at 6:30 p.m.