BASEBALL: Davis, Gators pummel Vols 18-9

Second baseman Adam Davis set a school record with 10 RBI's in a single game as fourth ranked Florida punched out eighteenth ranked Tennessee 18-9 in SEC action Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.

Davis played today's game like a man who is willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

"In the (pre-game) huddle, he (Davis) said that we're the third ranked team in the country and it doesn't mean crap if we don't back it up" senior Jeff Corsaletti recalled. "Nobody is going to give us anything. We've got to go out there and take it".

The fact that Davis was able to perform at such a high level was especially impressive, since fouling a ball off of his left foot in the bottom of the first inning.

"He is just a competitive young man" Coach Pat McMahon said. "He fouled a ball off his instep in the first inning. He was in pain. We considered taking him out, but he said, "No, I'm staying in there".

Davis went four for six with two home runs, 10 RBI's, and four runs scored. The Ft. Myers native also made several nice plays in the field. Davis' home runs included a three run shot and a Grand Slam. Furthermore, it marked the second time this season that Davis has homered from both sides of the plate.

The previous mark of nine for RBI's was set by Dave Falcone versus Tennessee in 1980. David Eckstein tied the record back in 1996 against Georgia State.

Florida scored four runs in the third as Corso reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on Dickey's single to left. Davis followed with a single scoring Corso, who was running all the way. LaPorta then reached on a catcher's interference call. Right fielder Brian LeClerc singled to center field scoring both Dickey and Davis. Brandon McArthur took an 0-2 count to left center for a double scoring LaPorta.

The Gators scored three more in the fourth as they chased Tennessee starter James Adkins (6-2), who was saddled with his first conference loss of the season. Corso and Dickey singled and scored on Davis' three run homer to left center.

Those stickers on many car windows that show a kid urinating on the some automakers logo quickly came to mind after Florida scored seven runs in the fifth inning to take a 14-1 lead. Radical changes would need to be in place though.

The noted changes would have Davis, Corsaletti, LaPorta, Dickey, and the rest of the Florida team whizzing on a toothless, coonskin cap wearing Tennessee alum and Smokey, who these guys reduced from a Blue Tick Hound to a Chihuahua. It was just that kind of day Saturday as the Gators tortured the Vols.

Florida's top four batters (Corso, Dickey, Davis, and LaPorta) combined for an afternoon of fun going 10-18 (.555). The "Whiz" kids belted three home runs, ripped 14 RBI's, drew five walks, and scored 14 runs. Not bad against a team that ranks #1 in the conference pitching stats.

The Gators bottom half of the order didn't have much of need to utilize the bats, as they seemingly had no pitches to swing against. Brian LeClerc, Brandon McArthur, Brian Jeroloman, Justin Tordi, and Stephen Barton combined to draw nine walks on the day.

Despite having already played 42 games, Florida raised their overall team slugging percentage from .466 to .470 with today's performance. The Gators on-base percentage rose three points to .408.

Florida starter Alan Horne (5-2) did a superb job through the first six innings allowing only two hits and two runs to a team that entered the game batting .334 and averaging 8.7 runs per game. It must have seemed like Horne sat through two rain delays as the Gators batted around in both the third and fifth innings. Horne struggled to keep the Volunteers in check in the seventh.

"It's hard to keep that focus when you sit for that long, and our team really hit the ball well again today" Horne said. "I wasn't tight. It's just that I got a little lackadaisical, I guess. I was upset at myself for allowing them to pick up a few runs".

Tennessee put together three run innings in both the seventh and eighth. Already leading 14-8, the Gators scored four more in the bottom half of the eighth. Tennessee reliever Trey Bridges walked the bases loaded before being replaced by Mike Kerfeld. It mattered not, as Davis blasted Kerfeld's 2-1 offering over the right field wall to break the Florida record.

The Gators (31-11, 14-6) take a 2.5 game lead over the second place Vols (31-14, 11-8) in the SEC Eastern Division. Third place South Carolina (31-12, 11-9) rallied to defeat Auburn. Vanderbilt (29-13, 10-10) split a doubleheader with LSU today.

Florida will start right hander Bryan Ball (5-1) tomorrow against Tennessee's Craig Cobb (4-2) at 12pm. The game will decide who wins the SEC series between the two schools.

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