Saturday April 30, 2005Davis Helps No. 3 Gators Even Series With No. 18 UT, 18-9
Third-ranked Florida (31-11/14-6 SEC) evened its series with No. 18 Tennessee (31-14/11-8 SEC) with an 18-9 victory on Saturday afternoon in front of 2,538 fans at McKethan Stadium. Sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) went 4-for-6 with four runs and a school-record 10 RBI, including a three-run homer in the fourth and a grand slam in the eighth.
Junior Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.) (5-2) picked up his fourth straight win by working 6.1 innings in which he allowed seven runs and five hits, with three strikeouts and three walks. The Orange and Blue drew a season-high 14 walks and totaled 13 hits. With the win, Pat McMahon’s club moved 2.5 games in front of UT and remains three games ahead of South Carolina (31-12/11-9 SEC) in the Eastern Division. The Gators are now two games atop the SEC standings with Alabama (31-14/12-8 SEC) dropping a 4-3 decision to Georgia (23-19/7-12 SEC).
Tennessee drew first blood in the second inning against Horne on a one-out RBI single up the middle by senior Eric King. Junior Chase Headley had opened the frame with a single to right and moved into scoring position with his fifth stolen base of the season. King roped a 0-2 pitch into center to put the Vols on the board but was then thrown out attempting to steal second by sophomore catcher Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.).
The Gators pushed across four runs in the third, highlighted by two-run, bases-loaded single by sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) and an RBI double by freshman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.), to seize a 4-1 lead. Junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) drew a one-out walk from freshman James Adkins and was forced at second on a fielder’s choice by senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.). Sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) notched UF’s initial hit of the contest with a single into left to advance Corsaletti and Davis tied the game with a run-scoring single to left.
A double steal executed by Dickey and Davis gave UF a pair of runners in scoring position and sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was awarded first base due to catcher’s interference. Leclerc roped a single to give the hosts a 3-1 advantage and also established a career high with his 39th RBI. McArthur then pounced on a 0-2 offering from Adkins for his third two-bagger of the campaign.
Florida boosted its lead to 7-1 in the fourth on Davis’ seventh home run of the campaign, a three-run jack into the left field bleachers. Corsaletti had extended his hitting streak to 11 games by legging out a bunt and Dickey followed with single to right center to set the table for Davis. Adkins (6-2) allowed seven hits and a season-high seven runs over four innings, with three walks and three K.
The Gators expanded their lead to 14-1 in the fifth by sending 12 batters to the plate and totaling seven runs on four hits and five against the duo rookie reliever Chase Hardin and junior Trey Bridges. McArthur drew a leadoff walk and was erased at second on a grounder by Jeroloman. Following a free pass to junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.), Hardin uncorked a wild pitch to put the runners on second and third. The righty walked Barton to load the sacks and Corsaletti launched a single off the wall in center to drive in Jeroloman, while Tordi came racing home on a throwing error by the second baseman. Dickey smacked a single off the pitcher to load the bases and chase Hardin. Davis greeted Bridges with a two-run single into center and LaPorta cranked his team-leading 17th homer onto the roof of the batting cages for the 13-run Gator margin.
A sacrifice fly in the sixth by junior Eli Iorg brought across senior Rob Fitzgerald and senior Alex Suarez connected a three-run homer in the seventh to pull the Vols to within 14-5. Following Suarez’s first round-tripper, Horne issued back-to-back walks to Fitzgerald and freshman Daniel Beasley and was replaced by senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.). The righty walked senior pinch hitter Joey Andrews to fill the sacks with two down, but worked out of the jam by striking out freshman J.P. Arencibia and having Headley fly out to Corsaletti.
Helped by a Gator error, Tennessee added three unearned runs in the eighth to narrow the gap to 14-8. Edmundson reached on a miscue by McArthur and was forced at second on a fielder’s choice by King. Freshman Julio Borbon singled to advance King and a passed ball by Jeroloman allowed the runners to move into scoring position. A sacrifice fly by Suarez to left brought home King and Fitzgerald belted his fourth home run on a 3-2 pitch from Falkenbach.
The trio of Barton, Corsaletti and Dickey walked to load the sacks in the eighth, forcing a Vol pitching change. Davis stepped to the plate and rocked junior Mike Kerfeld’s 2-1 pitch over the right field wall for his third grand slam of the season. The 10 RBI surpassed the previous record of nine shared by David Eckstein (2/9/96 versus Georgia State) and Dave Falcone (4/5/80 versus Tennessee).
Junior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.) (5-1, 2.67) will face Tennessee sophomore Craig Cobb (4-2, 4.35) in tomorrow’s series finale at noon. The game will be carried live on Sun Sports.