Sunday April 3, 2005Baseball Completes Sweep of Kentucky, 11-6
Seventh-ranked Florida (23-7/6-3 SEC) snapped a 6-6 tie with five runs in the eighth to complete a weekend sweep of Kentucky (14-12/0-8 SEC) at McKethan Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) drove in the go-ahead run with a single and finished 4-for-5 with four RBI and three runs and sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) also belted a three-run homer in the frame. LaPorta concluded the series with 10 RBI and a round-tripper in every game. Junior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) worked 1.2 scoreless innings to improve to 5-2 and help the Gators to their sixth win in a row.
"Sweeps are difficult in this league so it was big for us to get one," said coach Pat McMahon. "We place a lot of responsibility on Jeff (Corsaletti) and he has worked extremely hard this season. The way he is seeing the pitches, working counts and taking the ball to all fields is phenomenal. What Matt (LaPorta) is doing is using all parts of the field during his at bats to be successful for us. We have players who work extremely hard and have faith in each other."
The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out double to the wall in right by junior Kevin Caldwell off junior Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.). Freshman Antone DeJesus looped a leadoff single just inside the left-field line to open the game and junior Michael Bertram drew a one-out walk. After Horne struck out sophomore John Shelby, the runners advanced into scoring position on a passed ball before Caldwell’s second two-bagger of the season started the scoring.
Florida cut the deficit in half during the third on an RBI single up the middle by Corsaletti. Sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) produced the Gators’ first hit off junior Kalen Gibson with a leadoff double and came home when Corsaletti raised his hitting streak to nine games. The senior leads the Orange and Blue with a.462 overall average and is hitting .405 in SEC action. Kentucky turned a double play on junior Stephen Barton’s (Miami, Fla.) fly out to center, as Corsaletti was thrown out attempting to take second.
UF had two runners aboard with none out in the fourth but could not push anything across. Sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) earned a free pass and Gibson plunked LaPorta to put the Gators in position for more runs. The righty struck out sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) and a double steal attempt failed when LaPorta was caught in a rundown and tagged out. Gibson fanned junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) to leave Davis perched on third.
Horne issued a walk to DeJesus to start the fifth before fanning junior Shaun Lehmann for his season-high seventh strikeout. Bertram poked a 3-2 pitch into left for a single and Shelby chased the right-hander with another base-hit to give the ‘Cats a 3-1 lead. Horne allowed five hits and three runs (two earned) and matched a season-high with four walks. Freshman reliever Tommy Wynn (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) induced a ground ball from Caldwell that was converted into a double play to end the UK threat.
The Gators answered with three runs on two hits in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by freshman Brandon McArthur’s (Seffner, Fla.) first career homer and a bases-loaded walk to Leclerc, to take a 4-3 lead. Jeroloman had drawn a one-out walk and McArthur cranked an 0-1 pitch from Gibson into the bleachers just beyond the left field fence to raise his hitting streak to eight games. Corsaletti followed with his second hit of the afternoon and later raced down to second on a passed ball with two down. Davis and LaPorta drew consecutive walks to fill the bases and Leclerc took a 3-2 pitch to collect a free pass. Gibson prevented further scoring by having Tordi ground out.
Corsaletti boosted the Gators’ lead to 6-3 with his fifth homer of the season, a two-run job off junior Adam Revelette in the sixth. Freshman Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.) was hit by Gibson, prompting a pitching change, and Revelette was greeted by a sacrifice bunt by Jeroloman to advance Kubin. A fielder’s choice by McArthur erased Kubin at third before Corsaletti collected his third hit of the day with the big fly.
The Wildcats responded with three runs in the seventh, highlighted by a two-run jack by Shelby, to forge a 6-6 stalemate. DeJesus reached on a one-out single and Lehmann laid down a bunt that was beaten out for a hit. The relay from McArthur went wide of first, resulting in Kentucky having runners on second and third. A grounder by Bertram scored DeJesus and left the visitors with two down. Shelby connected on Wynn’s 1-2 offering for his fifth home run of the spring, all coming in the last 13 games.
Freshman pinch hitter Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) walked against freshman Brock Baber (0-2) to open UF’s turn in the eighth and moved to second on a balk. Jeroloman’s Texas Leaguer dropped into left to push junior pinch runner Chris Woods (Gainesville, Fla.) to third before Baber struck out McArthur. Corsaletti punched a single through the right side to put the Gators back in front, 7-6, and Barton lined a base-hit into center to load the bases. Davis grounded back to the pitcher, who made the throw over to first instead of home to give Florida a two-run cushion. LaPorta then launched his team-leading 11th homer of the campaign to straightaway center for an 11-6 margin.
Florida totaled 41 runs and had 41 hits in its second-straight series sweep of the Wildcats. Jeroloman (2-for-2) and Barton (2-for-5) also had multiple hits for the hosts, while McArthur scored twice and had two RBI. Shelby (2-for-5) drove in a team-high three runs and Lehmann finished 3-for-5 for UK. The Gators will resume action on Friday with the opener of a three-game series at defending SEC champion Georgia. Game one from Foley Field will begin at 7 p.m.