BASEBALL: Davis, Corso Lead Gators Past UCF

Second baseman Adam Davis and center fielder Jeff Corsaletti combined for 11 RBI's, while catcher Brian Jeroloman took away the Golden Knights offensive game in eleventh-ranked Florida's 17-6 victory over state rival number 20 Central Florida Tuesday night at The Mac.

Davis smashed a two-run home run, a two-run double, and an RBI single to lead the Gators offensively. Davis' seven RBI's are a new career high. The Fort Myers native only had 13 RBI's entering the contest. His performance against the number 20 team in the country raised his average 18 points and his slugging percentage 53 points.

"We came out swinging the bat," Davis said. "We were down early, but we battled through it. The coaches tell us to keep working hard and good things will happen. This (UCF) is a very good team. The coaches believe in bringing in mid-week challenges for us to play. That should make us better."

Senior Jeff Corsaletti set a career high with five hits in a single game. Corso hit four singles before ripping a two-run double to right in the Gators six-run eighth inning. The Charlotte County graduate raised his batting average 38 points to .461, second in the Southeastern Conference.

Hitting one-two in the lineup, Corsaletti and Davis accounted for eight of Florida's 15 hits. Third baseman Stephen Barton and left fielder Gavin Dickey were the only other Florida players to gather more than one hit. Barton finished the night two for three, while Dickey went two for four.

Defensively, catcher Brian Jeroloman sent a clear message early on to a Golden Knights team that had stolen an eye popping 83 bases in 99 attempts coming into Tuesday night's contest.

Leadoff hitter Matt Ray lined a single to left field. He took off on a 1-2 count for the steal, however, Jeroloman easily cut him down like a Samurai with a blade. The Golden Knights led off the top of the second with back-to-back singles by former Florida player John Michael Howell and Ryan Bono. Jeroloman caught a Bryan Augenstein pitch and made a snap throw to Matt LaPorta at first to gun down Bono, who had strayed too far off of the bag. Four pitches later, third baseman Marshall Bernhard reached on a fielder's choice. "The Samurai" cut Bernhard down as he tried to steal second base on the next pitch.

Jeroloman has thrown out eight consecutive runners, and has cut down 17 of 33 on the season.

A Central Florida team that averaged 3.07 stolen bases per contest entering the Florida game was shut out. By comparison, Florida is tied for second in the conference with 40 stolen bases in 50 attempts. The Golden Knights didn't attempt any more stolen bases, in part because the Gators posted eight runs over the next three innings.

"We were prepared," Jeroloman said. "The scouting report the coaches gave us was great. Every single player on that team could run. They're a good team. They're an in-state team, so we know and have played with or against several of their players. They can play".

The Gators did their damage in bunches. Florida scored four runs in the fourth, four runs in the sixth, and after a 57 minute lightning delay the Gators added three runs in the seventh and six runs in the eighth.

Florida reliever Darren O'Day (4-2) picked up the win. O'Day actually gave up an earned run, his first since the Miami contest on February 19. He gave up four hits in 3.1 innings, while striking out five.

Freshman Bryan Augenstein started the game and gave up five hits and three earned runs in 2.1 innings. Junior Connor Falkenbach came on in relief. He pitched three innings, giving up only one earned run, while striking out four. The Florida staff combined to strike out 10 Golden Knights batters.

Central Florida dropped to 23-5 on the season. The Gators ran their record to 17-6, with a key Eastern Division showdown this weekend in Gainesville against Eastern Division favorite South Carolina. The first pitch on Friday night is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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