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Monday June 6, 2005Baseball Downs Irish, 23-3, To Claim Gainesville Regional

Gainesville, FL

Top-seeded Florida (43-20) clinched its second-straight NCAA Super Regional berth on Sunday night with a 23-3 win over third-seeded Notre Dame (38-24-1) in front of 4,851 fans at McKethan Stadium. The Gators banged out 21 hits and plated a school-record 23 runs in NCAA Tournament play to complete a perfect 3-0 weekend.


Junior Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.) (8-2) notched his seventh-straight win by working seven innings in which he scattered four hits and registered eight strikeouts. The Regional’s Most Outstanding Player, sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.), went 4-for-5 with four RBI and finished the weekend 8-for-12 (.667) with nine RBI.


The Gators will next face archrival Florida State in a best-of-three series next weekend in Gainesville. The starting dates and times for the NCAA Super Regional will be made on Tuesday at noon on ESPN’s Bottom Line. Four of the Super Regionals will be played from Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12 (if a third game is necessary), and four will start Saturday, June 11, with possible third games of the best-of-three series taking place on Monday, June 13.


The Irish jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run single up the middle by senior Matt Edwards. Junior Craig Cooper drew a leadoff walk and freshman Brett Lilley was hit by a pitch from Horne to give the Irish a pair of runners aboard. Junior Steve Andres roped a double to the wall in center field but Cooper was thrown out at the plate on a relay from senior center fielder Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) to sophomore second baseman Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) into sophomore catcher Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.). Edwards poked Horne’s 0-2 offering to help the ND draw first blood and was forced at second on a fielder’s choice by junior Cody Rizzo. Rizzo was caught stealing by Jeroloman to end the inning.


Florida answered with five runs on three hits and an error in the third to take a 5-2 lead. Freshman Jared Kubin (Oakton, Va.) walked to begin the inning and was injured sliding into second on a wild pitch by Notre Dame freshman Wade Korpi. Following the medical timeout, Corsaletti stepped the plate and cranked the next pitch over the right-field fence for his ninth round-tripper of the season. Davis followed with a double into center field, sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) earned a free pass and Jeroloman was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks. Freshman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) lofted a sacrifice fly into center field to score Davis and a throwing error allowed the runners to occupy second and third. Leclerc smacked a two-run single up the middle to give the Gators a 5-2 lead and chase Korpi (2.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R) and bring in freshman Joey Williamson. Sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) flew out to right and Leclerc moved into scoring position with his fifth stolen base of the season. Junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) was hit by a pitch and junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) popped out to close the frame.


The Gators tacked on two more runs in the fourth with some clutch two-out hitting to build a 7-2 lead. Corsaletti and Davis started things off with consecutive singles before LaPorta flew out. Senior reliever Scott Bickford came out of the bullpen and retired Jeroloman on a fly to center. However, McArthur sliced an RBI single to right and Leclerc delivered a base-hit of his own to left to put UF ahead by five runs.


UF scored twice in the fifth to assume a 9-2 advantage. Freshman Tony Lankford took over on the hill for the Irish and hit the first batter he faced, Tordi. A single up the middle by Barton pushed Tordi to third and a fielder’s choice by Davis resulted in another Gator score. Davis stole second, advanced to third on a balk and came racing home on a passed ball.


The Orange and Blue totaled three runs on three hits in the seventh for a 12-2 lead. Tordi stroked a leadoff single into left field and Corsaletti drew a one-out walk. The runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch by Langford and Davis punched an RBI single to right field for his second RBI of the day. After Davis advanced to second on a passed ball, Jeroloman drilled a payoff pitch into center field for two more RBI to finish Florida’s scoring in the frame.


Six more Gator hits created a seven-run outburst in the eighth and a 19-2 bulge. Leclerc smashed a double to straightaway center field and Dickey reached on an infield single before Tordi’s two-bagger scored Leclerc. Davis and LaPorta provided back-to-back run-scoring base-hits, freshman Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) chipped in an RBI grounder and Leclerc later added his fourth hit of the night to drive in LaPorta.


Freshman Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) launched a pinch-hit triple with one down in the ninth against ND sophomore Jess Stewart and scored on a sac fly by Corsaletti. Adam Davis followed with a walk and junior Andy Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) had a pinch-hit single into left center to end the evening for Stewart. Junior Greg Quatrino (Tampa, Fla.) bashed senior Tyler Jones’ first pitch over the wall in left for his first career hit, a three-run homer to bring Florida’s run total to 23.


Twelve different Gators contributed at least one hit to the squad’s offensive production, highlighted by Davis (4-for-5, six runs, three RBI), Corsaletti (2-for-5, four RBI, four runs) and Leclerc. Andres went 2-for-4 for the Fighting Irish. Junior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) pitched the final two innings for UF, giving up two hits and one run.











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