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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.