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Sunday June 26, 2005Baseball's Rally Falls Short Against Texas, 4-2

Omaha, NE -

Freshman Adrian Alaniz (8-3) kept the Gator baseball team scoreless into the eighth inning and senior J. Brent Cox collected his 18th save to lift Texas to a 4-2 victory on Saturday night at Rosenblatt Stadium in the opener of the best-of-three College World Series Championship Series. Florida (48-22) had the bases loaded with two down in the eighth but could move no closer against the Longhorns (55-16). Game two will be tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. and will be shown live on ESPN.

 

Texas broke the ice in its first at bat on a two-out RBI double by senior designated hitter Will Crouch. Sophomore Nick Peoples had led off the game with a walk from freshman Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) and was sacrificed to second by sophomore Drew Stubbs. A grounder from senior Seth Johnston pushed Peoples to third and Crouch bashed his ninth double of the campaign to deep center field to open the scoring. Locke responded with a strikeout of sophomore Carson Kainer.

 

The Horns threatened again in the second with two runners aboard with two down but did not score. Locke had retired the first two batters, junior Taylor Teagarden (flyout) and sophomore Chance Wheeless (strikeout), before yielding a base-hit to senior David Maroul. A fielding error by sophomore left fielder Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) enabled Maroul to take second and a miscue by freshman third baseman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) on senior Robby Hudson’s grounder left Texas with runners on the corners. Locke worked out of the jam by having Peoples hit a comebacker to the mound.

 

The Gators had a couple of runners on base against Alaniz in the second but an inning-ending double play thwarted any potential rally. Sophomore Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) began the frame with a single into left and moved into scoring position on a bunt by McArthur. Sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) drew a free pass and Dickey sent a grounder to Maroul, who stepped on third base and fired over to Wheeless at first to preserve UT’s 1-0 advantage.

 

Crouch victimized Locke again in the third, belting a solo shot with two out over the wall in left to give the Longhorns a two-run lead. The round-tripper was his seventh of the season and gave Crouch his eighth multiple-hit effort in the past 12 games.

 

Maroul boosted UT’s margin to 4-0 in the fourth with a two-run dinger into the left-field bleachers. Wheeless stroked a one-out single into right center field and Maroul followed with his 10th homer on the next pitch from the left-hander.   

 

Senior Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) replaced Locke (4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 K) at the outset of the fifth inning and kept the Longhorns off the board for 3.2 innings. The sidearm specialist permitted three hits and registered three strikeouts before senior Mike Pete (Brandon, Fla.) took over with two down in the eighth.

 

Junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) opened the home portion of the eighth with a bunt single and moved to second on a passed ball. After junior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) earned a free pass, Cox took over for Alaniz. The right-hander struck out senior Jeff Corsaletti (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and sophomore Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) before sophomore Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) punched a two-run single up the middle to narrow the gap to 4-2. A walk to Jeroloman gave the Gators a pair of runners on base and freshman Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) drew a base on balls from Cox to fill the sacks. The right-hander settled down, striking out Leclerc on a 1-2 slider to end the stanza.

 

Junior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) became Florida’s fourth pitcher of the night in the ninth and set down the Horns in order on nine pitches, with two strikeouts. In the final at bat for the Gators, junior Chris Woods (Gainesville, Fla.) pinch hit for Dickey, but fanned on four pitches. Cox then set down Tordi and Barton via the strikeout to pick up his NCAA-leading 18th save to put Texas one win away from its sixth national title.

 

Crouch and Maroul powered UT with identical 3-for-4 efforts, while LaPorta went 2-for-4 for the Gators. The Longhorns held an 8-4 hit disparity in the contest and turned a pair of double plays. Tonight was also the first-ever meeting on the diamond between the squads.

 

59TH ANNUAL MEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES GAME ONE QUOTES 

Texas Longhorns (55-16) vs. Florida Gators (48-22) 

Florida Head Coach Pat McMahon

(opening statement): “I’m awfully proud of our guys. They played extremely hard for 27 outs. They competed their hearts out. What an exciting environment to play in. What a great arena. We have an opportunity to come back and compete tomorrow and by gosh we will.” 

(on starting pitcher Stephen Locke’s performance): “I’m very proud of Steven. He grew up a lot and got better tonight. Stephen Locke was a guy we wanted on the mound and our team wanted him on the mound.” 

Starting pitcher Stephen Locke

(on getting the start): “I knew it was going to be a last-second choice. I wasn’t nervous because I’ve been thrown in there before.” 

Relief pitcher Connor Falkenbach

(on his availability Sunday): “I’m ready to go right now. Give me the ball and I’ll be ready. I want to do what I can to get us a win.” 

First baseman Matt LaPorta

(on the team’s approach at the plate): “Our approach could’ve been a little better. I, for one, was probably trying to do too much with one swing of the bat and you can’t do that.” 

(on possibly rattling J. Brent Cox in the 8th inning): “He’s probably the best closer in the country and it probably doesn’t faze him too much with guys on at second and third. We were battling; it just didn’t come out our way.” 

(on Brian Leclerc’s AB in the 8th): “We always feel that when he steps to the plate, something good is going to happen. He didn’t get it done tonight but he tried his hardest. That’s baseball; that’s just the way it goes sometimes.” 

Texas Head Coach Augie Garrido

(opening statement):  “I thought both teams showed their nerves early on and they showed it on defense.  I thought we did a good job of capitalizing on pitches in the zone.  I thought the rally was an effective one.  They got the first two hitters on in the eighth.  They moved up and with two outs, their star player does what star players do, and gets the clutch hit and scores two runs.  I thought J. Brent did a remarkable job coming out and pitching in the 9th.  He took none of the negatives from the last inning into the ninth.” 

(about Will Crouch’s hitting lately):  “It’s the kind of thing quality players do.  If you’re going to be a quality team, it shifts around.  It’s not just one player.  It’s not something new to him.  He’s seen it before.” 

(about wanting a win tomorrow): “Baseball has never given me what I wanted.  Whenever I’ve personalized a game for my own reasons, we stink.  We’re just going to play the game.” 

Texas Relief Pitcher J. Brent Cox

(about his effort): “I knew I had to get it done one way or the other.  The strikeouts were a blessing.  I was just looking for ground outs.” 

(about 8th inning): “Looking back the first outing at Ole Miss was a blessing.  Certainly not then, but now.  Playing in that type of atmosphere and to have things not go your way, it helped.” 

Texas Designated Hitter Will Crouch

(about his hot hitting): “I’m feeling great.  I’m seeing the ball well.  Hitting is all confidence.  I’m staying relaxed.  It all comes down to seeing the ball.” 

(about the pitches he hit tonight): “The three balls I hit tonight were up in the zone so they were mistakes from a pitcher’s perspective.” 

Texas Starting Pitcher Adrian Alaniz

(about his effort): “For one thing the blister wasn’t a factor.  It’s healed in the last couple of days.  Going into the game having pitched the one game vs. Baylor helped me.  It was like a zone with Taylor – like I had tunnel vision.  Getting one run on the board early set confidence for me.” 

(about 8th inning): “It was not what I expected to happen.  The bunt single.  I thought I could have made the play.  Tough luck. Another guy walked.  It started a rally.  That’s why we have J. Brent in the bullpen.” 

-UF-

 

 

 

 

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