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Friday June 24, 2005Baseball Clinches Berth In CWS Championship Series With 6-3 Triumph Over Arizona State

Omaha, NE

Using the long ball, Florida overcame a 3-0 deficit with six unanswered runs on Thursday night to upend Arizona State, 6-3, in an elimination game at the NCAA College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium.  With the win, the Gators (48-21) avenged a defeat to the Sun Devils (42-25) yesterday and advanced to the best-of-three championship series for the first time in school history. UF will face Texas (54-16) beginning on Saturday at 7 p.m. live on ESPN.


Down by three runs, Florida used a two-run homer by sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) in the fourth inning to narrow the gap to 3-2. As part of four-run outburst in the fifth, sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) put Pat McMahon’s club on top for the first time versus ASU with a three-run jack and sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) followed with a solo shot to provide the winning margin. Pitching in relief of junior starter Alan Horne (Marianna, Fla.), who was injured in the fourth frame, senior Tommy Boss (Dunnellon, Fla.) hurled 5.2 scoreless innings to improve his season ledger to 9-4.


The Sun Devils jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Horne. Junior Jeff Larish opened the game with a double to center field and scored when classmate Travis Buck followed with a double into left center. Horne struck out sophomore Colin Curtis and a grounder by senior Tuffy Gosewisch advanced Buck to third. On ball four to sophomore pinch hitter Zechry Zinicola, Horne uncorked a wild pitch to bring across the second run.


Arizona State added another run in the second on a two-out RBI single by Larish to seize a 3-0 advantage. Senior Joey Hooft led off with a base-hit, moved to second on a passed ball and reached third on a grounder by freshman J.J. Sferra. Horne responded with a strikeout of freshman Andrew Romine before Larish sent a 1-2 pitch into right field to bring home his teammate.


The Gators had two runners aboard with one down in the second but came away empty-handed against senior Jason Urquidez. Sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) opened the frame with a base-hit to right field and freshman Brandon McArthur’s (Seffner, Fla.) bunt attempt was popped up and caught by Urquidez. After Jeroloman advanced on a wild pitch, Leclerc drew a walk. Sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) flew out to center to push Leclerc and Jeroloman to second and third, respectively, before junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) grounded out to second to end the threat.


Horne retired sophomore Seth Dhaenens to begin the fourth but then hurt his left hamstring while pitching to Hooft. Boss came out of the bullpen for the first time since Feb. 22, 2004, at Miami (Ohio) and put down Hooft (strikeout) and Sferra (groundout). Over 3.1 innings, Horne allowed four hits and three runs (two earned) with three K and two walks.


Leclerc pulled the Gators within 3-2 in the bottom of the inning with his 14th homer of the campaign and third of the postseason. Jeroloman led off with a walk and McArthur was called out after a pop-up behind the plate was interfered with by a fan. Play resumed after a lengthy discussion with the umpires and Leclerc put the Orange and Blue on the board by taking a 3-1 pitch out of the yard.


Florida surged ahead in the fifth on back-to-back homers by Davis and LaPorta to grab a 6-3 lead. Junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) started things off with a single to right, ending the night for Urquidez (4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R). Senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) greeted junior reliever Brett Bordes with a base-hit, his 100th of the season, to become the fifth Gator to reach the century mark. With runners on the corners, Davis stepped to the dish and blasted his 12th round-tripper into the left-field bleachers to give Florida a 5-3 lead. LaPorta then cranked a 3-2 pitch from Bordes deep to left to take over the Division I lead in home runs with his 26th. After Jeroloman earned a free pass on four pitches, junior Tony Barnette took over on the mound for the Sun Devils. A fielder’s choice by McArthur erased Jeroloman at second and Leclerc grounded into an inning-ending double play.


Neither team pushed across any runs for the remainder of the contest, as Boss scattered four hits, with one strikeout and one walk. Bordes fell to 5-7 with the loss, surrendering three runs on three hits without retiring a batter. Both squads managed eight hits, as seven different Gators contributed one hit. Davis (2-for-4) led the way with three RBI for Florida, while Curtis, Hooft and Larish had two hits apiece for the Sun Devils.     



Game 13 - Arizona State (42-25) vs. Florida (48-21)


Arizona State Head Coach Pat Murphy

(opening statement): “I’m so pleased with these guys.  I pleased we did what we did.  It’s a pretty amazing club.  No matter what they face, they’re going to come through.  Credit goes to Florida.  These guys know how much I believe in them as competitors.  I love this club.  This club has taught me more than any other team I’ve been a part of.  I believed until the last pitch.  Even when that last pitch was hit, I believed that this team was destined for greatness.”


(about managing a pitching staff in this championship format): “I thought our pitching staff did a great job here and at Cal State-Fullerton.  I feel bad for (relief pitcher) Bordy (Brett Bordes.)  We had the pitcher on the mound that we wanted in that situation.”


(about the accomplishments of this ASU team): “There are 11 guys with any Division I experience on this team.  That’s pretty good.  They put it together and wouldn’t be denied.  It shows what a team can do when it buys into the team concept.”


Arizona State Catcher Tuffy Gosewisch

(about playing in the College World Series): “To finally get here after four years is an honor.”


(about interference play): “I thought I was right on the ball.  When the fan interfered, I had a beat on the ball.  It was right above my glove.  I thought it was the right call.”


Arizona State Right Fielder Travis Buck

(about facing Brett Bordes): “He threw three or four pitches for strikes.  I didn’t know as much what was coming as the first guy (pitcher).”


Arizona State First Baseman Jeff Larish

(about the lack of a key hit tonight): “This is baseball.  You can’t always get a big hit when you want to.  I think the special thing about this team is it hasn’t been just one person.  It just shows this team has a lot of fight.  No matter what we faced, we battled through it.”


Florida Head Coach Pat McMahon

(opening statement)

“In lieu of an opening statement, I’ll just say what a great college baseball game. Both teams left everything out on the field and showed a lot of heart. To hear Murph talk with such sincerity about his team … those are outstanding comments. They left it all on the field and they’re a great club.”


(on his outburst)

“The crew is a quality umpiring crew. He obviously put himself in a good position to make that call. Obviously, the call I disagreed with but our guys have to focus through that and play the game. They had played hard and had quality at-bats before. They hit the ball. Obviously Leclerc’s hit got us going and we needed that.”


(on Alan Horne’s injury)

“He hurt his leg on the pitch. It’s in the hamstring area. The simple answer is he’s day to day. We’ll know more later.”


First baseman Matt LaPorta

(on getting to the Championship Series)

“We’ve worked really hard for this. Getting up at 5:30 in the morning to practice and run at the stadium. We knew we had the team to get this far.”



Relief pitcher Tommy Boss

(on his long relief appearance)

“Coach Jones asked me before the game if I could give him some innings and I told him my arm felt great.”


(on Alan Horne)

“One thing you guys need to know about Alan Horne and how tough he is. When he came back in the dugout and coach asked him how he was, he said we had to get this one wrapped up so he could pitch again this weekend. That’s tough he is and how much of a competitor is.”


Second baseman Adam Davis

(on pressure to win the game)

“I was definitely feeling some pressure. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I didn’t. We came out flat and ASU put it to us (Wednesday). Today we hit the ball around and did the little things right.”







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