Big Eighth Inning Propels Baseball to 10-4 Win

A three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth by C.J. Smith lifted the University of Florida (24-9-1) baseball team over visiting Stetson (20-15) 8-4 Wednesday night. The two teams entered the eighth tied at four but Florida scored four runs in the inning to snap a two-game losing streak to the Hatters.

In the deciding eighth inning Florida pulled away from Stetson scoring six runs. The table was set for Smith in the eighth after Brett Dowdy singled and Jonathan Tucker drew a walk. Smith's home run on an 0-2 pitch gave the Gators the runs they would need for the win. UF then tacked on three more runs with an RBI by Ben Harrison and two run single from Matt Graziano. Florida had five hits in the eighth after having just six hits in the previous seven innings.

Relief pitcher Darren O'Day (3-1) picked up the win pitching the seventh and eighth innings and giving up one hit with a pair of strikeouts. Taking the loss for Stetson was Roger Lincoln who entered the game in the sixth for starter Adam Blair. Lincoln was responsible for four of the six runs in the eighth.

The Gators used the long ball in the second to get on the board and take a 3-0 advantage. Ben Harrison led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. Garza doubled down the right field line and then Brian Rose hit a three-run home run into the left field bleachers. It was the sixth homer of the season for Rose who finished.

Stetson answered with single runs of their own in each the third and fifth innings to cut the lead to a single run. John Destefano singled in runs in both innings as he scored Ian Church in the third and Pete Rasmussen in the fifth.

Florida went scoreless for three innings before taking a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Tucker led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on an error. Harrison singled in the fourth run for the Gators as he hit a run scoring single in the sixth.

Stetson knotted the game at four in the seventh to set up the heroics by Smith. Rusty Beale singled to lead off the inning and two runners got on base after a UF error. A sacrifice bunt put both base runners in scoring position before Bryan Zenchyk knocked in the tying run by scoring both with a seeing eye single through the left side of the infield.

Florida pitcher Bryan Ball made his fourth career start and went 4.2 innings and gave up four hits and two runs (one earned) with one walk and four strikeouts. Florida used five pitchers in the game and they combined to give up eight hits and walked just three while striking out 10.

At the plate for Florida Harrison was 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI, while both Garza and Rose scored twice. Destefano had a pair of hits and two RBI for Stetson.


  • Brian Rose set the Florida career-record for being hit by a pitch. Rose's 42nd HBP in the eighth inning topped David Eckstein's record of 41. Rose has been hit 12 times this season.
  • Florida has scored 10 or more runs in five straight non-conference games.
  • The four strikeouts by Bryan Ball topped his previous career high of three.
  • Senior Brian Rose extended his hit streak to 10 games. That ties his previous career best of 10 set during the 2002 season.
  • Three of Stetson's four runs were unearned against the Florida pitching staff.
  • Florida improved to 19-3 against non-league foes this season including 19-1 at home.
  • The Gators hold a 72-32 edge over Stetson in the all-time series.
  • Florida batted around in the eight inning. This marks the 12th time this season.

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