Baseball Knocks Off Columbia

The University of Florida snapped a three-game winless streak as the Gators defeated Columbia 24-8 Tuesday evening. At the plate C.J. Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Brett Dowdy had three hits, three runs scored and a career-best five RBI and Mario Garza added four RBI. The Gators were keyed by scoring runs in six straight innings from the third through the eighth.

The Gators got on the board early in the first inning. Brett Dowdy led off the game with a single. In the next at bat, Jonathan Tucker singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a Columbia error which also scored Dowdy. A Mario Garza sacrifice fly scored Tucker and gave Florida a 2-0 lead.

A five-run third inning put some breathing room between the Gators and Columbia. Tucker walked to open the inning and stole second. Three straight hits helped the Gator s pull ahead. C.J. Smith hit a two-run homerun to center field. That was followed by a Ben Harrison triple and Mario Garza hit the second two-run homer of the inning extending the Gator lead to 6-0. Jeff Corsaletti kept the rally going as he singled and later scored on a wild pitch.

The Gators added two runs in each the fourth and fifth innings. Smith and Harrison hit back-to-back doubles. Harrison later advanced to third on a fly out and came home on a wild pitch to make the score 9-0 in the fourth. Jake Riordan struck out to lead off the fifth inning, but reached first on a wild pitch. Justin Tordi singled to right field and Riordan scored on a throwing error. Tucker doubled to left field, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored an unearned run to bring the score to 11-0.

After starting pitcher Christian Madson dominated early, Columbia finally got to him in the sixth with five runs off of six hits. In the sixth, Mike Baxter had an RBI sac fly before an RBI single from Joe Catsam. Ryan Schmidt then hit the Lions first homer of the season, a two run shot to left center. The final Columbia run crossed home plate after Andrew Hooker singled home Fernando Perez who earlier reached on a single and advanced to second on a fielding error.

Madson (2-0) earned the win after going a career-high 5.1 innings and giving up four runs with one walk and a career-best six strikeouts. Florida used four pitchers in the game and they combined to strikeout 10 while walking just three.

Florida added a single run in the sixth and two in the seventh. In the sixth Tordi had an RBI fielder's choice groundout and a two-run homer by Brian Rose accounted for two runs in the seventh.

The Gators ended the game strong scoring 10 runs on six hits in the ninth. A two RBI single by Lee Roberson scored two while Dowdy singled in a run and hit a three-run homer in the inning. Riordan also had a base hit up the middle that scored two. In the inning the Gators sent 13 batters to the plate and two hitters, Riordan and Dowdy, reached base twice.

The Lions loaded the bases in the ninth and scored one run on a Hooker sacrifice fly to end the evening. Baxter had three RBI for the Lions who had 13 hits in the game.

The Gators return to action tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. versus Army at McKethan Stadium.

The Gators improved to 9-2 in weekday non-conference games.

Brett Dowdy ran his hit streak to four games, the longest current such streak on the Florida team. This was the first game ever between Florida and Columbia.

Columbia also played Central Florida in Orlando earlier today and lost 7-4.

This was the third time the Gators have scored 20 or more runs in a game this season.

The Gators had nine extra hits in the game.

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