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Saturday February 18, 2006LaPorta?s Blast Helps No. 1 Baseball Down No. 16 Miami, 4-1

Coral Gables, FL

Junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) snapped a 1-1 tie with a leadoff homer in the eighth off Miami sophomore left-hander Manny Miguelez and No. 1 Florida added two more runs in the ninth to notch a 4-1 victory over No. 16 Miami in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday afternoon at Mark Light Field. Sophomore right-hander Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) limited the Hurricanes (6-5) to one run over seven innings to move his mark to 2-0 and help the Gators (5-1) clinch their first series triumph at Miami since 2002.


“What an outstanding college baseball game this afternoon,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “One swing by either team could have determined the outcome and fortunately Matt (LaPorta) came through for us. The two-out double in the ninth by Brian Leclerc was also a clutch hit and gave us some breathing room. Another key to the game was a tremendous pitching effort by Bryan Augenstein and I was pleased with the performance of Josh Edmondson, Steven Porter and Darren O’Day out of the bullpen.”   


The 2005 SEC Player of the Year, LaPorta’s first round-tripper of the season was the 41st of his career, breaking a tie with Ben Harrison (2001-04) for second on the school’s all-time list. Currently a member of the Texas Rangers, Brad Wilkerson (1996-98) holds the Florida standard with 55 home runs.


The Gators tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the ninth off Miami junior closer Chris Perez to take a 4-1 lead. Junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.) earned a one-out walk and senior Chris Woods (Gainesville, Fla.) smacked his second double of ’06 into left field to put Florida in business with one down. A wild pitch from Perez allowed Cash to score the third run as Woods advanced to third. Perez set down junior Adam Davis (Ft. Myers, Fla.) on a groundout and junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) produced his team-leading third double to give UF a three-run cushion.


Davis delivered a two-out RBI single in the second frame to put Florida on the board. Junior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) started things off with a base-hit through the left side and was sacrificed over by junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.). Woods reached on a two-out error by the shortstop to put runners on the corners and Davis followed with a flare into left to score Pride. Leclerc was hit to load the bases but LaPorta popped up to second base to keep the margin at 1-0.


The Hurricanes tied the game in the fourth on an RBI double by freshman Yonder Alonso. Junior Jon Jay rifled a leadoff single up the middle and junior Danny Valencia laid down a bunt to move his teammate into scoring position. Alonso then sent a 3-0 pitch from Augenstein off the wall in right center for his fourth two-bagger of the season to knot the contest at 1-1. The right-hander forced a flyout by senior Tommy Giles and issued a walk to rookie Dennis Raben before having sophomore Walter Diaz ground out to Davis to end the inning.  


Sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) replaced Augenstein (7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 5 K) prior to the bottom of the eighth and retired freshman Jemile Weeks on a grounder. Jay reached on a fielding error by LaPorta and moved to second on Valencia’s ground out. Junior Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) stranded the runner with a strikeout of Alonso to preserve UF’s one-run advantage.


Porter issued a walk to senior Tommy Giles to open UM’s ninth and was replaced by senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.). The right-hander jammed junior pinch hitter Richard O’Brien on an infield fly and then induced a game-ending double play grounder by Diaz to collect his second save in as many days.


The Gators out-hit the Hurricanes, 7-5, as Davis and LaPorta each contributed two hits. Five different Miami players had one hit apiece, while Miguelez (1-1) registered a career-high seven strikeouts with one walk over eight innings. UF will send freshman southpaw J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, Fla.) (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the bump in tomorrow’s series finale against UM sophomore left-hander Scott Maine (0-0, 0.00 ERA). The game will air at noon live on Sun Sports.


Game Notes

  • Today was Bryan Augenstein’s first career road start.
  • Adam Davis was in a 0-for-9 drought before singling in his first two at bats.
  • Matt LaPorta has drawn a walk in all six of Florida’s games this season.
  • Florida’s bullpen has worked four scoreless innings in the series, allowing two hits.






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