Corsaletti's 6 RBI lead Gators past CSU, 15-6

Jeff Corsaletti doesn't even hesitate to let you know he was rather embarrassed Friday night when the Florida Gators lost their season opening baseball game to Charleston Southern.<p>"We had a lot of guys upset Friday night and they should have been," said the senior center fielder. "But at the same time, you have to move on and I think we did that well. We won last night in a close game and we came out today, got ahead of them early and we played much better."

Corsaletti tied a career high with six runs batted in Sunday afternoon as he belted out a single, a double and his first home run of the season to lead the Gators to a series-ending 15-6 win over the Buccaneers before a crowd of 2,086 at McKethan Stadium.

"Finally, we woke the bats up today," said Corsaletti. "The whole weekend I think we had guys trying to do way too much. I think we finally settled down and started hitting the ball today."

Florida put up 10 hits in the victory, but the Gators also took advantage of six walks, four hit batsmen and three Charleston Southern errors. The fact that the Gators were able to take advantage of situations was pleasing to Coach Pat McMahon, but he also liked the fact that the Gators hit the ball hard and kept it in play most of the game.

"Putting the ball in play was very important for us, and when we had run scoring opportunities early we took advantage of those things," said McMahon, who noted that Florida got a lot of quality at-bats in the game when by putting the ball in play, his team moved runners into scoring position and made the Charleston pitchers work.

"We talk about getting on base and putting the ball in play," he said. "We talk about getting deep in pitch counts to help us wear a pitcher down. We took advantage of some walks and hit by pitches. Those are things you have to take advantage of down the road when you get in big series."

Florida got off to the kind of start that McMahon had been hoping for in the first two innings when the Gators put five runs on the board. Back to back doubles by Stephen Barton and Corsaletti in the first got one run in and Brian Jeroloman plated Corsaletti with a single to left field. Corsaletti drilled a home run off the scoreboard in right field in the second inning with Gavin Dickey and Barton on base.

It was in the third inning that McMahon started wondering who were these guys he had in the field? It was déjà vu of Friday night when the Gators committed six errors in the season opener. Florida gave up four Charleston runs, only one of which was earned and only one that was brought home by a ball that left the infield. A wild pitch third strike to leadoff hitter Jason Rose was the first sign that the wheels might come off in this inning. That was followed by a bunt down the third base line by Keith Stewart who never stopped running as consecutive throwing errors by the Gators allowed him to circle the bases. Another bunt single and another throwing error along with a wild pitch factored into the final two runs of the inning.

While the plays in the field by his team were clearly an irritant for McMahon, he was pleased with the way his team put the shoddy play behind them. Florida starter Bryan Ball (1-0) regained his composure after the third to pitch three more solid innings. It wasn't until Alan Bontya bounced a single through the hole at second in the sixth inning that the Bucs had a base hit that reached the outfield.

"I thought that was a real positive outing for Bryan," said McMahon. "He had a low pitch count, controlled himself and he threw the ball in the strike zone. "After that inning he regrouped, threw the ball in the strike zone and kept it in control."

For the game, Ball pitched six innings, gave up just three hits and only one earned run while walking two and tying a career high with seven strikeouts.

Ball just shrugged his shoulders when asked about the horrendous third inning, noting "that's college baseball for you. Sometimes stuff happens that you don't exactly plan for but we as a team played very well, battled through it and we came back to get a few more runs later on."

Florida answered the Charleston outburst with two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth. In the fourth, Dickey singled and later scored on a wild pitch and Corsaletti drove in Adam Davis with a ground out. In the fifth, Brandon McArthur's sacrifice fly scored Brian Jeroloman to give Florida an 8-4 lead.

Freshman Bryan Augenstein came on to pitch the seventh and eighth innings for the Gators, getting the Bucs 1-2-3 in the seventh and inducing a tapper back to the mound that began an inning-ending double play in the eighth.

Florida put the game totally out of reach in the seventh with a seven run outburst that was highlighted by a Corsaletti single that drove home his sixth run of the game and a three-run homer to left by Matt LaPorta. McArthur also had a run-scoring double in the inning.

Although there were several areas of Sunday's game that McMahon noted would be addressed in Monday's practices, areas he says "we have to get better in," he was pleased with the overall showing that allowed the Gators to improve their record to 2-1. In particular, he liked the way the Gators overcame the third-inning miscues to recompose themselves both in the field and at the plate.

"You always know that the opposition will always make 2-3 runs at you during a game and you have to pitch through, defend through and play through those runs," he said. "I liked the way we did that today.

"We put up a two spot and a three spot to go up by five and you have to grab that next inning and we didn't do that. To be successful that's what we have to improve. Our guys know that and they have to be held accountable."

The Gators next game is Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium when Florida plays host to Florida A&M. Next weekend, Miami comes to Gainesville for a three-game series.

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