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Saturday April 9, 2005Baseball Evens Series With 12-1 Win at Georgia

Athens, GA

Before a season-high crowd of 3,717 spectators at Foley Field on Saturday night, fifth-ranked Florida (24-8/7-4 SEC) evened its series at Georgia (18-13/3-7 SEC) with a 12-1 triumph over the Bulldogs. Junior Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.) (2-2) overcame a rocky opening stanza with his longest stint of the season, seven full innings in which he matched a season-high with seven strikeouts and allowed six hits, to earn his first SEC win since May 5, 2002 at South Carolina.

Led by freshman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.), who extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 4-for-5 outing, UF totaled 13 hits and took advantage of four Bulldog errors for its largest win over Georgia since a 14-2 decision on April 22, 1984. The squads will play the rubber match tomorrow at 1 p.m. in a game to be carried live on Sun Sports.

The Gators opened the scoring in the top of the first on a two-out RBI single into right center by sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) that scored classmate Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.). Davis had drawn a walk with two down from senior Sean Ruthven and stole both second and third base to give him a team-high 14 thefts in 15 opportunities on the campaign.

Georgia strung together three straight hits in the bottom of the inning against Horne but could put just one run on the board. Senior Josh Smith sliced a leadoff single into left and sophomore Jonathan Wyatt followed with a base-hit to give the Dawgs runners on the corners. Junior Bobby Felmy’s infield single to short brought Smith across with the tying run before Horne had sophomore Josh Morris ground into a 4-6-3 double play and sophomore Brandon Lowe ground out to third base.

Florida re-claimed the lead in the second with two runs on three hits and two UGA errors. Sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) and McArthur opened with consecutive singles into right before sophomore Brian Jeroloman’s (Wellington, Fla.) sacrifice bunt was thrown away, allowing Leclerc to score, McArthur to take third and Jeroloman to reach base. Junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) delivered an RBI single into right field for a 3-1 Gator advantage but Ruthven worked out of further damage by striking out freshman Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) and having senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) line into a double play.

Junior Jason Jacobs smoked a single off Horne’s right hand to start things off and senior Derek Smith roped a single into right before junior Kyle Keen’s sac bunt advanced the runners into scoring position. The right-hander fanned sophomore Brandon Masters and had Josh Smith ground out to keep UF ahead by two runs.

Josh Smith drew a one-out walk from Horne in the fifth but was thrown out attempting to swipe second on a perfect relay from Jeroloman to Tordi. The sophomore has now erased 21 of 38 runners trying to steal against him. Horne closed the inning with a punchout of Wyatt, his fourth strikeout of the game.

Leclerc provided Florida with a 4-1 lead when he cranked his sixth home run over the right field wall with one down in the sixth. The dinger was his first since belting a grand slam in a 17-1 rout of Michigan State on March 11.

The Gators broke the game open with five runs on three hits and two critical Georgia errors to build a 9-1 lead in the seventh. Barber earned a free pass from Ruthven with one down and Corsaletti followed a single to left to advance junior pinch runner Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) to third base and chase the pitcher. Ruthven (1-3) registered nine strikeouts and yielded seven hits and six runs (five earned) over 6.1 innings.

Dickey greeted junior reliever Bo Lanier with a ground ball that was thrown away by the second baseman, enabling Barton to score, Corsaletti to occupy third and Dickey to take second. After a fielder’s choice by Davis erased Corsaletti at the plate, LaPorta ripped a single up the middle to bring across Dickey with UF’s sixth run. Leclerc walked to load the bases and the combination of a single up the third-base line by McArthur and a throwing error cleared the bases for the eight-run lead.

Dickey lashed a double to the wall to begin the ninth and Davis reached on an infield hit before freshman Joshua Fields struck out LaPorta and Leclerc. McArthur stepped to the plate and roped a single into center field to collect his second RBI of the night for a 10-1 margin. A walk to Jeroloman loaded the sacks full of Gators and Tordi cashed in with a two-run double to the corner in right to give the visitors a 12-1 lead.

In addition to McArthur’s career-high four hits, LaPorta (2-for-5, two runs), Leclerc (2-for-4, three runs) and Tordi (2-for-5, three RBI) turned in multiple-hit efforts for Florida. Jacobs and Derek Smith had a pair of hits apiece to lead the Dawgs. Seniors Mike Pete (Brandon, Fla.) and Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) each tossed a scoreless frame to close the game for UF.

-UF-

 

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