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Saturday April 2, 2005McMahon Picks Up 500th Win as Gators Edge Kentucky, 10-9

Gainesville, FL

After Kentucky rallied from an 8-5 deficit with four runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 9-8 lead, seventh-ranked Florida countered with two runs in the bottom of the frame to earn a 10-9 decision. The contest was the completion of Friday’s suspended game on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. The Gators’ (21-7/4-3 SEC) victory over the Wildcats (14-10/0-6 SEC) in the opener of the series was the 500th win of Pat McMahon’s 13-year head coaching career.

Junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) tied the game with a leadoff home run off Wildcat freshman Brock Baber and junior pinch runner Chris Woods (Gainesville, Fla.) came across with the winning run on a wild pitch by junior Adam Revelette (0-1). Junior Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) (1-0) collected his first win since March 24, 2004, an 11-6 triumph over Dartmouth.

When the game resumed at 2 p.m. in the top of the sixth with Florida leading 5-4, senior Mike Pete (Brandon, Fla.) took over for junior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.). Pete was making his first appearance since tossing two innings against Villanova on March 4. The left-hander went 1.2 innings before senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) came out of the bullpen.

The Gators added to their lead on a three-run blast by sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.), the slugger’s team-leading ninth dinger of the season. In UF’s first trip to the plate of this afternoon, senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single to right and sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) collected his third hit of the game to equal his career high. With one down, LaPorta rocked a 2-0 pitch from junior Craig Snipp into the left field bleachers to end an 0-for-13 drought and give Florida an 8-4 cushion.

Freshman Antone DeJesus opened the seventh with his second triple of the game, a bullet down the right field line before Pete set down the next two Wildcat batters. Sophomore John Shelby greeted Falkenbach with an RBI single up the middle and junior Michael Bertram followed with a single into left center. The righty had freshman Colin Cowgill ground out to strand two runners.

Falkenbach issued consecutive walks to junior Shaun Lehmann and junior Kevin Caldwell in the ninth before being replaced by O’Day. The right-hander caught Shelby looking and Bertram singled to right to load the bases with just one out. The reliever induced a pop-up by senior pinch hitter Jesse Barber for the second out but junior J.P. Lowen smoked a ball of the first base bag for a two-run single to narrow the gap to 8-7. Freshman Ryan Wilkes tied the contest with a double into left center and senior J.B. Schmidt drew a walk to fill the sacks again and spell the end of a rough outing for O’Day (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R). Porter walked DeJesus on a 3-2 pitch to give the Wildcats a 9-8 advantage and Lehmann popped up to short.

Tordi led off the bottom of the ninth with his third home run of the season, a shot to left field off Baber. Freshman Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.) walked with one down and freshman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) singled to advance Woods and chase Baber. The hurler had Corsaletti forced McArhur at second with a grounder but Woods was able to take third. During Dickey’s at bat, Revelette uncorked his fourth wild pitch to provide the difference.

On Friday night, the Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in their first at bat against Ball. Schmidt drew a leadoff walk and scored on a triple to right center by DeJesus. Lehmann’s RBI grounder pushed across the second run and Caldwell followed with a walk. A double to left center by Shelby gave UK runners on second and third with just one down. Ball induced a pop-up to short by Bertram and struck out Cowgill to prevent further damage.

In the bottom of the frame, Florida loaded the bases with two out against freshman Scott Green but came away empty-handed. Dickey extended his hitting streak to four games with a one-out base-hit into left and sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) followed with a free pass. After the right-hander retired LaPorta, sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) walked to fill the sacks. Tordi forced Leclerc at second with a grounder to end the inning.

The ‘Cats increased their lead to 3-0 in the third on an RBI single by Shelby. DeJesus started things off with an infield hit and Caldwell walked before Shelby punched an 0-2 offering from Ball into right center to score DeJesus. With runners on the corners, Ball fanned Bertram and Cargill to increase his strikeout total to five.

Dickey opened the home portion of the inning by being hit by a pitch and Davis legged out an infield single before LaPorta flew out to right, advancing Dickey to third. An RBI grounder by Leclerc narrowed UF’s deficit to 3-1 and Tordi roped a single up the middle to bring the margin to 3-2. A walk to sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) put a pair of Gators aboard and Green responded by setting down junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) on a grounder.

Junior J.P. Lowen led off the fourth with a towering homer to right on Ball’s initial pitch of the inning to give Kentucky a 4-2 lead. It was his second dinger of the season. Junior Craig Snipp took over for Green (3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K) to start the home portion of the stanza and the Gators answered with three runs to seize a 5-4 advantage. Corsaletti drew a one-out walk, Dickey sliced a single down the left field line and Davis smacked his seventh double of the season to pull the hosts to within 4-3. A sacrifice fly from LaPorta tied the game and Leclerc punched a single to right to give UF its first lead of the night.

Ball put down the first two Kentucky hitters in the fifth before a throwing error by the Gators extended the inning. Bertram stroked a single into right to move Shelby to second and a wild pitch by Ball advanced the runner to third. The righty kept the home team in front by whiffing Cowgill for the third time on the night. Once the fifth was completed, the skies opened up and action was stopped for the night.

For UF, Dickey was 3-for-4, McArthur was 3-for-5 and LaPorta drove in four runs. The trio of Bertram, DeJesus and Shelby had three hits apiece for Kentucky, while the Gators held a 14-13 margin in hits. The teams began game two of the series at 4:15 p.m.

-UF-

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