Saturday May 14, 2005Baseball Moves Back Into First Place With 2-1 Win Over MSU
Junior Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.) tossed his first complete game since Feb. 28, 2003 and sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) snapped a scoreless tie with a two-out, two-run single in the sixth to lift No. 10 Florida (34-17/17-9 SEC) to a 2-1 triumph over Mississippi State (32-18/11-14 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. With their second victory in a row over the Bulldogs, the Gators moved into first place overall and in the Eastern Division after Tennessee (36-15/16-9 SEC) fell at LSU (34-17/15-11 SEC) this afternoon in Baton Rouge, 9-3.
"For the fans, this was another tremendous SEC matchup," said head coach Pat McMahon. "You have to give Mississippi State a lot of credit. They swing the bats very well and can put a lot of runs on the board. Alan (Horne) continues to get better and better. He competed his heart out and made quality pitches when he had to. Brian (Jeroloman) is an outstanding clutch performer in every aspect of the game for us."
Horne (6-2) threw 130 pitches and scattered nine hits in picking up his fifth straight victory. The righty registered nine strikeouts and gave up just one run, courtesy of a solo shot in the seventh by Bulldogs freshman pinch hitter Mitch Moreland. Horne worked nine innings last Saturday at Arkansas but was not involved in the decision when UF succumbed to the Hogs in 10 innings, 3-2.
MSU mounted a two-out rally in the fourth but could not break the scoreless tie. Junior Joseph Hunter drew a walk and advanced to third on a base-hit into shallow right by junior Jeff Butts. However, Horne responded with his sixth strikeout by fanning freshman Bunky Kateon.
After sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) delivered UF’s initial hit of the afternoon against senior Todd Doolittle (4-7) with his 11th double with two down in the inning, sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) was walked intentionally. However, freshman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) grounded out to end the frame.
Jeroloman opened the bottom of the fifth with a looper into left and was sacrificed to second by junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla). Junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) flew out to right and Doolittle issued an intentional walk to senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) before having sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) ground out to short.
Jeroloman came through with a clutch hit just over the shortstop to give the Gators a 2-0 lead in the sixth. Sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) walked to start the inning, LaPorta was hit by a pitch and Leclerc moved both runners into scoring position with a sac bunt. After Doolittle caught McArthur looking on strikes, Jeroloman hit a chopper on a 3-2 pitch just out of the grasp of Kateon to score both runners. Tordi beat out an infield hit and Barton walked to load the bases, ending Doolittle’s time on the mound. The right-hander worked 5.2 innings, giving up four hits and six walks, with three K. Junior Brett Cleveland entered the game and jammed Corsaletti on an infield fly to hold his club’s deficit at two runs.
Moreland cut Florida’s lead in half with one-out homer to left field in the seventh. The rookie turned on a 1-2 offering for his first collegiate round-tripper. Sophomore Jeffrey Rea followed with a single through the right side of the infield before Horne responded by retiring freshman Ed Easley (ground out) and junior Brad Jones (strikeout).
Junior Thomas Berkery smacked a leadoff double in the eighth and classmate Brad Corley singled into center to give the Bulldogs runners on the corners with none out. Horne had sophomore Brian LaNinfa fly out to center and then induced an inning-ending double play by Hunter that was started by freshman Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.), a defensive replacement at third base. Gaski scooped up the ball, fired over to Davis covering second and the relay to LaPorta just beat the runner.
The visitors held a 9-4 advantage in hits, as junior Jeff Butts and Jones chipped in two hits apiece. Jeroloman wound up 2-for-3 for the Orange and Blue. Senior Tommy Boss (Dunnellon, Fla.) (6-3, 4.87) will pitch the finale for the Gators against Mississippi State sophomore RHP Jon Crosby (5-2, 3.19). Start time will be at 1 p.m.