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Sunday June 12, 2005Baseball Bound For Omaha After 8-5 Win Over Florida State

Gainesville, FL

In front of a McKethan Stadium record crowd of 5,698 fans on Saturday night, sixth-ranked Florida (45-20) used a two big offensive innings and a strong showing from junior starting pitcher Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.) to defeat No.9 Florida State (53-20), 8-5. With the victory, the Gators claimed the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional, 2-0, sending them to the College World Series to Omaha for the first time in seven years. Florida will face Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee in its opening game on Friday at Rosenblatt Stadium.


Florida opened the scoring in the top of the first with four hits and four runs to chase FSU junior Mark Sauls. Sophomores Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) poked back-to-back one-out singles and classmate Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) stroked an RBI single into right to plate Davis with the first run. Following a run-scoring groundout by freshman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.), sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) cranked his 13th homer of the campaign over the right-field fence for a 4-0 cushion. Junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) was hit by a pitch, ending Sauls’ time on the hill after two-thirds of an inning in favor of junior Matt DiBlasi.


The Seminoles countered with a run in the bottom of the frame on an RBI double to left center by senior Gibbs Chapman. Sophomore Shane Robinson had drawn a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced to third on a grounder by sophomore Ryne Malone. Following Chapman’s 14th two-bagger of the season, Horne struck out senior Aaron Cheesman and induced a grounder by freshman Jack Rye to strand the runner.


Horne worked out of trouble in the second, as FSU had runners on the corners with one down but did not score. Senior Daniel Wardell started things off with a double to left and moved to third on a grounder by sophomore Josh Spivey. Horne plunked freshman Ryne Jernigan with a pitch but bounced back to catch freshman Tony Thomas, Jr., looking on strikes and had Robinson fly out to center.


Florida State trimmed the deficit to two runs in the third on a one-out double to the wall by Cheesman that scored Malone all the way from first base. Malone had punched a leadoff base-hit into left and Horne retired Chapman on a fly to left. Cheesman launched his 10th double over Leclerc’s head in right before the right-hander fanned Wardell. A walk to Spivey loaded the bases with two down and Horne battled Jernigan for 10 pitches before registered an inning-ending strikeout.


The Gators capitalized on two FSU errors in the fourth to grab a 5-2 lead. Sophomore Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) reached on a fielding miscue by Thomas and moved into scoring position on a ground ball by sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.). Senior Jeff Corsaletti’s (Port Charlotte, Fla.) grounder to short eluded Jernigan to enable Barton to score UF’s fifth run.   


Back-to-back singles by Thomas and Robinson began the home portion of the fourth for the Seminoles and Malone executed a sacrifice bunt to put the runners at second and third. Tordi made a sliding catch on a foul pop-up by Chapman, allowing Thomas to score from third. However, McArthur cut off the throw to the plate and beat Robinson to the bag at third to close the stanza and keep the count at 5-3 for the Gators. 


UF’s bid to add another run in the fifth was stymied when Jeroloman was gunned down at the plate attempting to score from first on a two-out double by Leclerc. Leclerc sent a ball down the right-field line that Rye scooped up and threw to Thomas, who delivered a perfect strike to Cheesman at the dish to erase a sliding Jeroloman.


The Gators pushed across three more runs in the sixth to seize an 8-3 advantage. Tordi sliced a leadoff single into left to start the frame and Barton legged out a bunt before Dickey roped an RBI double into right center for a 6-3 Florida advantage that prompted a pitching change. DiBlasi worked a season-high 4.1 innings, giving up six hits and four runs (three earned) with four strikeouts. Junior Barret Browning had Corsaletti ground out to short and Davis followed with a two-run double down the left-field line for an 8-3 lead to bring in sophomore Tyler Chambliss. After Davis was thrown out attempting to steal third base, the reliever hit LaPorta in the back and walked Jeroloman. McArthur flew out to complete the stanza.


Horne held the Seminoles hitless thru the sixth, seventh, and eight innings and then retired Jernigan on a ground ball to short to lead off the ninth. Thomas broke the hitless streak by sending a fastball over the left-field fence to bring the Seminoles within four. Horne walked leadoff batter Robinson on five pitches to end his night. The right-hander went 8.1 innings, giving up eight hits while striking out eight to collect his eighth-straight decision to improve to 9-2.


Senior Mike Pete (Brandon, Fla.), relieved Horne and got Robinson to line out to center field for the second out of the inning. Chapman kept the Seminole season alive by lining a fastball into right field to put runners on first and second. Pat McMahon made his second pitching change of the inning, bringing in senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.), who gave up a bloop single into left field off the bat of Cheesman. Robinson came into score from second base making the score 8-5. Falkenbach fell behind Rye two balls and no strikes before Rye grounded out to first to punch the Gators’ first ticket to Omaha since 1998. Falkenbach recorded his ninth save of the year in getting the final out and the Gators erupted out of the dugout and the bullpen to dog pile between the pitcher’s mound and first base.


Five different Gators came through with two hits apiece: Davis (2-for-5, two RBI), Jeroloman (2-for-4), Leclerc (2-for-5, two RBI), Barton (2-for-4, two runs) and Dickey (2-for-3). Chapman, Cheesman and Thomas chipped in with two hits apiece.














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