Border War for the right to advance

Georgia swept the Gators in three games during the first week of April. In each of those games, Florida produced five runs, but its' pitching was tagged for an average of eight runs per game. Can the Gators exact revenge?

Last five series:
Florida 		Georgia 
vs Vandy 3-0		vs LSU 1-2
vs Auburn 3-0		vs Kentucky 3-0
vs Bama 2-1		vs Mississippi State 3-0
vs Ole Miss 0-3		vs Auburn 2-1
vs Tennessee 1-2	at South Carolina 2-1


FLORIDA 5 LSU 4 (10) - Third baseman Jonathan Tucker ripped a triple and scored on LSU reliever Jordan Faircloth's wild pitch in the 10th inning. The Gators then handed the ball over to Darren O'Day, who shut out the Tigers in the bottom half of the inning for a 5-4 Florida victory.

Tucker went 2-4 with a triple, double and two RBI's. The Gators also benefitted from the hot bat of freshman catcher Matt LaPorta, who blasted a solo shot over left center leading off the second. Senior Ben Harrison slapped an run scoring double in the first inning to get Florida off to a good start.

The Gators also received an solid performance from shortstop Justin Tordi, who touched his friend, LSU starter Justin Meier for a double in the fourth after striking out in the second. Tordi then led off the seventh with a single, and scored on Adam Davis' sacrifice fly to center. Defensively, Tordi recorded five put outs and four assists.

Florida starter Justin Hoyman (10-1) held the Tigers in check for most of the day. He allowed nine hits and three earned runs in 7.1 innings before giving way to O'Day (8-1), who picked up the win.

Vanderbilt 3 Florida 0 - Commodore southpaw Ryan Mullins handcuffed the Gators with a 12 strikeout, All-Tournament performance. The lanky sophomore held Florida to seven hits and didn't allow a walk.

Designated hitter Cesar Nicholas swung the hot bat for the ‘Dores, blasting a solo home run in the first, and a double in the fourth. Florida starter Tommy Boss pitched well, but was saddled with his fifth loss of the season. The Gators drop into the losers bracket, where they'll play Georgia for the right to play Vandy on Saturday.

Georgia Offense vs Florida starter Connor Falkenbach

What offense? Georgia has scored one run in 18 innings of baseball, but fought through to advance to an afternoon date against Florida. The ‘Dawgs have faced two outstanding lefthanders in Vandy's Jeremy Sowers and LSU's Lane Mestepey. Today, they'll face righthanded sidearm specialist Connor Falkenbach.

Georgia has collected 10 hits for a sparkling .169 average. The hottest hitter among them has been center fielder Kyle Keen, who is batting .500. Catcher Clint Sammons is the only other player on the roster who has more than one hit. You get a better glimpse of their offensive struggles when you realize that Sammons is also the only player (besides Keen) to hit in both games. Sammons is batting .285 in the tournament.

player avg hits slug % RBI HR BB SB/ATT
Josh Morris .320 64 .645 67 16 39 4/4
Justin Holmes .320 64 .525 49 8 10 16/21
Josh Smith .316 68 .414 32 1 16 3/8
Marshall Szabo .311 68 .447 25 4 10 4/6

Connor Falkenbach was one of the more effective pitchers against the Bulldogs in their previous meeting in Gainesville. He lasted 4.2 innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs, while striking out three.

Against the Bulldogs...

player T Record ERA Opp BA IP SO BB HR
Connor Falkenbach R N/D 4.28 .300 4.2 5 1 0

Florida Offense vs Georgia starter

The Gators check in at the second spot in the SEC batting average race, behind LSU at .311. Florida is led by C. J. Smith and a surging Ben Harrison, who ripped two home runs in Knoxville for four RBI's. The senior took apart the Ole Miss staff the previous weekend going 6 for 13 (.462) and picking up a couple of RBI's. Big Ben picked up a key extra base hit against LSU to keep the bat hot in the tourney.

Catcher Matt LaPorta is swinging the hot bat for the Gators. He cranked a solo shot out of the Met yesterday. The freshman from Port Charlotte hit .500 in the Tennessee series and pounded three home runs and five RBI's. In the four games prior to the conference tournament, LaPorta hit .583

Justin Tordi and Jonathan Tucker led all hitters going two for four on the day. Tordi also had a solid day in the field.

Florida third baseman Jonathan Tucker was the only player able to solve Mullins. Tuck singled three times, accounting for nearly half of the Gators hit totals.

player avg hits slug% RBI HR BB SB/ATT
C.J. Smith .359 80 .628 58 13 23 6/6
Ben Harrison .358 73 .642 58 16 41 7/13
Brian Jeroloman .341 46 .393 26 1 33 1/1
Jeff Corsoletti .336 74 .450 33 4 29 11/18
Adam Davis .329 72 .489 22 6 16 19/23

The Bulldogs could send Paul Lubrano to the mound. Lubrano picked up a win against the Gators on April 2nd. The former Central Florida transfer (Winter Springs) ran into trouble early, as Adam Davis deposited a leadoff home run over the left field fence. Davis later drove a single to left off of the southpaw. Jeff Corsaletti singled off of Lubrano twice. The Gators collected eight hits off of Lubrano and were able to score four runs, three of them earned.

Against the Gators...

Player T Record ERA Opp BA IP SO BB HR
Paul Lubrano L 1-0 4.35 .250 6.2 2 3 1

A Florida win would send them into a 10 am (Saturday) morning rematch against Vanderbilt, who would more than likely be without the services of Jeremy Sowers and Ryan Mullins. The Gators would probably pitch Bryan Ball. =

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