Saturday victories determine berth in SEC Tourney

Junior Connor Falkenbach threw a three-hit shutout and C.J. Smith cranked a two-run home run to power Florida (40-19) to a 7-0 elimination game victory over Georgia in Birmingham Friday. The Gators will need two wins against Vanderbilt (41-16) to earn a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

Saturday victories determine berth in SEC Tourney Title Game

Last five series:

Florida 				Vanderbilt 
vs Vandy 3-0				vs Florida 0-3
vs Auburn 3-0				vs Mississippi State 3-0
vs Bama 2-1				vs Tennessee 2-1
vs Ole Miss 0-3				vs LSU 1-2
vs Tennessee 1-2			at Kentucky 3-0

FLORIDA IN THE 2004 SEC TOURNAMENT

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.

Florida 7 Georgia 0 - Connor Falkenbach needed just 100 pitches to pitch a three-hit shutout against Georgia. The junior struck out seven Bulldogs. Florida scored three runs in the fourth and seventh. First baseman C.J.Smith went two for four with a two-run home run and a run scoring single to lead the Gators at the plate.

Vandy Offense vs Florida starter Bryan Ball

The ‘Dores are the fifth best hitting club in the conference with a .306 average. Second baseman Warner Jones is the best pure hitter in the Southeastern Conference and one of the top hitters in the land. Jones finished the regular season with a .425 average. The All-American leads the league in hits and doubles, while ranking second in RBI's and total bases.

Antoan Richardson, Jones, Klosterman, and Baxter have combined for 66 stolen bases on the year. They have been picked off 13 times, for an 83.5% success rate.

Vanderbilt tagged three Georgia pitchers for ten hits and six earned runs. Jones went 2 for 5 and added a pair of RBI's. Richardson, Baxter, and catcher Jonathan Douillard each collected two hits a piece.

player avg hits slug % RBI HR BB SB/ATT
Warner Jones .425 96 .695 64 10 11 11/15
Ryan Klosterman .350 78 .543 30 5 23 13/16
Cesar Nicholas .327 62 .59863 13 36 0/1
Mike Baxter .326 72 .41636 2 11 12/15

Bryan Ball fared pretty well against the ‘Dores a month ago. He scattered six hits in five innings, but only gave up one run. Ball struck out three batters.

Should Ball need relief, the Gators could use Darren O'Day, just as they did against Vandy in April. O'Day took over for Ball and mirrored his performance in the 10 inning 3-2 Florida victory.

Commodore catcher Jonathan Douillard hit a solo homer off of O'Day in the top of the ninth.

Against the Commodores...

player T Record ERA Opp BA IP SO BB HR
Bryan Ball R N/D 1.80 .300 5.0 3 0 1
Darren O'Day R 1-0 1.80 .300 5.0 1 0 1

Florida Offense vs Vandy starter Matt Buschmann

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.

player avghits slug% RBI HR BB SB/ATT
C.J. Smith .359 80 .628 58 13 23 6/6
Ben Harrison .358 73 .642 58 1641 7/13
Brian Jeroloman .341 46 .393 26 1 33 1/1
Jeff Corsoletti .336 74 .45033 4 29 11/18
Adam Davis .329 72 .489 22 6 16 19/23

The Commodores will probably send right hander Matt Buschmann to the mound. In his last start, on May 23rd against Kentucky, Buschmann pitched 6.1 innings, giving up eight hits and five earned runs. He struck out five Wildcats, while walking only one.

Jensen pitched in relief of Buschmann against Kentucky. He pitched two innings and gave up two hits and no earned runs. He struck out two. Lewis pitched the ninth on Thursday, shutting out the Gators and striking out one.

Since they played Florida a month ago, Buschmann has moved from the pen to the #3 starter. Lewis has moved into the pen. The Gators ripped Buschmann for three hits in one inning of relief.

Against the Gators...

Player TRecord ERA Opp BA IP SO BB HR
Matt Buschmann R N/D 9.00 .500 1 1 0 0
Jensen Lewis R 0-1 1.80 .280 5 1 2 0

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