BASEBALL: NCAA Preview - Stetson vs. Florida

Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year Pat McMahon knows a thing or two about the Stetson Hatters. He was a two-year letterman during the 1974-75 seasons at the DeLand school after transferring from St. John's River Community College. Although drafted after high school by the New York Mets, he was unable to fulfill the dream of pro baseball after college. McMahon developed arm problems which prematurely ended his playing career.

McMahon spent our nation's bi-centennial as a student assistant coach at Stetson under the tutelage of Jim Ward. It was during that season that McMahon served as acting head coach for the Hatters during a 10-game stretch when Ward fell ill. Those games do not reflect in McMahon's resume which now boasts a Southeastern Conference championship and another berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Gators begin tournament play at 8 p.m. Friday at McKethan Stadium when McMahon faces his alma mater. The Florida-Stetson game will be preceded at 4 p.m. by North Carolina (ACC) facing Notre Dame (Big East).

Series records

Florida leads: 74-32 (.698) NCAA Tournament: tie 2-2

Top seeded Florida won't have to go far to find a scouting report on Stetson starter Chris Ingoglia. The southpaw pitched against the Gators on May 18. Furthermore, Florida catcher Brian Jeroloman has the book on Ingoglia as he caught him while the two were teammates at Wellington High School in West Palm Beach.

The Gators won that first meeting, 6-4, helped by Matt LaPorta's two-run home run in the eighth and a three for five offensive surge by Jeroloman. Mike Pete pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief to pick up his third win of the season.

Stetson 2005

The Hatters (35-26) had their worst month in May, when they floated just above the break even mark at 9-8. They reeled off a 3-1 record against Lipscomb and Jacksonville University. They were swept in a two game series by Florida State, 9-5 and 8-4. Stetson then traveled to Troy, where they were swept in a three game set. The Hatters edged Central Florida, 4-3, at home.

Since falling to the Gators two weeks ago, the Hatters finished out the regular season beating Tallahassee Regional three seed South Alabama, 15-12. Last weekend, Stetson battled back through the loser's bracket to win the Atlantic Sun Tournament in DeLand.

Month by month: February 7-4; March 9-7; April 10-7; May 9-8

Last 10 games: 6-4


The Hatters were able to beat Coral Gables Regional three seed Florida Atlantic with pitching. That is a rarity for a loser's bracket team, but they did it, and did it well.

Stetson held FAU to three runs in two games to win the tourney. The Hatters took game one 7-3 and the championship game 8-0. Starter Ryan Heacox and then reliever Chris Ingoglia held the Owls to four hits.


LHP Chris Ingoglia (8-3): 6-1, 185, So., 4.56 ERA, .279 OBA

Ingoglia allowed three earned runs on nine hits in six innings against the Gators two weeks ago. The lefty got himself out of a jam in the bottom of the second after giving up three hits and one run with nobody out. The Gators picked up three hits and a run again in the bottom half of the fourth with one out only to see Ingoglia get back to the dugout without any further damage.

Ingoglia pitched game one of the A-Sun Tourney against Central Florida. Ingoglia allowed seven hits and three earned runs in seven innings while picking up his eighth win of the year as the Hatters won, 8-5.

He pitched 3.1 shutout innings in relief of starter Heacox in the A-Sun Championship Game against Florida Atlantic. Ingoglia allowed only one hit while striking out seven.


RHP Brandon Berlett (2-1): 6-5, 224, Jr., 4.46 ERA, .305 OBA

Berlett pitched to Florida shortstop Justin Tordi with the bases loaded in the eighth inning two weeks ago. Tordi grounded out on an 0-2 pitch with the Gators leading, 6-4.

He was not very effective against Gardner-Webb in the tourney. Berlett gave up three runs on five hits in just two innings of work.

RHP Robbi Elsemiller (5-4): 6-0, 150, Fr., 5.67 ERA, .295 OBA, 5 saves

Elsemiller was saddled with the loss in the Gators win over the Hatters in Gainesville. He gave up a leadoff double in the eighth to Jeff Corsaletti and the home run to LaPorta which gave the Gators the margin they needed. Jeroloman, Matt Gaski, and Stephen Barton followed with back-to-back-to-back singles loading the bases before Stetson Coach Pete Dunn pulled him for Berlett.

He pitched two shutout innings to close out the Hatters victory over FAU, 7-3. Elsemiller has seen action in five games since the Hatters played Florida. He has picked up two wins and a save in those appearances.

Stat: The Gators have faced five of the nation's top 28 strikeout leaders


Alan Horne (7-2, 4.16 ERA, .297 OBA) will get the call Friday night. Overall, the Marianna native has been outstanding down the stretch for the Gators. Horne has found himself locked in a pitchers' duels the past several weeks in games against Arkansas, Mississippi State, and until the fifth against Vanderbilt.

He was not greeted kindly by his former Ole Miss teammates. Horne was touched for eight hits and four earned runs in 5.1 innings pitching against Rebels Matt Maloney. While he didn't pick up the decision, the Gators fought off the Rebs for a 10-7 win.

Vanderbilt starter Jensen Lewis provided a strong challenge for the Gators and Horne. The pair kept the opposition scoreless through the first four innings. Florida scored five in the top of the fifth, while the Commodores scored four in the bottom half of the inning. That would serve as the game's lone run producing inning, as Florida went on to a 5-4 victory.

Horne was absolutely sensational against the Razorbacks in early May on the road. Horne stuck out 12 Razorbacks, while allowing only four singles in nine solid innings. But, again the Gators couldn't generate any offense. Had Horne gotten the W, he likely would have been named SEC Pitcher of the Week

He was again victorious in the Gators complete game series start over the Bulldogs. He gave up only one earned run and struck out nine. It marked a second consecutive start where Horne tallied 130 pitches.

The two consistent bright spots in the pen over the past two weeks have been submariners Darren O'Day and Connor Falkenbach.

O'Day (7-3, 3.22 ERA, .235 OBA) has thrown 8.1 innings and has yet to allow an earned run. He has given up four hits and walked two, while fanning five. Falkenbach (3-3, 2.92 ERA, .291 OBA) has pitched four innings and allowed only one earned run on seven hits. He walked one and uncharacteristically has struck out only one.

Lefthander Mike Pete had been very effective until Ole Miss throttled the Gators, 14-1, in the SEC Tourney. Pete gave up seven hits and five earned runs in that game. In the other appearances, Pete has pitched 4.1 innings and allowed just two earned runs on two hits.

Stat: Florida pitchers have faced five of the nation's top home run hitters




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Stetson second baseman Chris Johnson enters the NCAA Regional in Gainesville with the highest batting average at .396. Johnson is also among nation's leaders with 23 doubles. However, he didn't pick up a hit against the Gators in the earlier meeting between the two schools. Johnson, a 6-3, 190-pound redshirt freshman is the son of Pawtucket Red Sox AAA Manager Ron Johnson.

Center fielder Shane Jordan went three for four against the Gators, including a double. Jordan is currently second on the team with a .378 average. Brandon Paritz and Braedyn Pruitt collected two hits each for the Hatters.

The only two players smoking the ball right now for the Gators are center fielder Jeff Corsaletti and first baseman Matt LaPorta. Both earned All-SEC Tournament honors for their play in Birmingham. The pair each finished with .412 averages.

However, it was Corsaletti who belted a pair of home runs and led the team in slugging percentage (.765). He sits at .379 and leads the Gators with an on-base percentage of .481.

LaPorta has seen his average rise to .341 over the past week. He is currently tied for second nationally with 23 home runs and ranks eleventh nationally in slugging percentage (.742).

Second baseman Adam Davis is the only other Florida player hitting above the .300 mark. Davis is currently hitting .315. He was one of the hottest Florida players two weeks ago, but has cooled off just a little bit lately.

Catcher Brian Jeroloman had seen his average dip to .276 earlier in May, but he has raised it to .292 with his play over the past two weeks. Left fielder Gavin Dickey (.297) and DH Stephen Barton (.295) are once again hitting the ball with more consistency.

The Gators need shortstop Justin Tordi (.243) and third baseman Brandon McArthur (.278) to break through and reassert themselves offensively.

Stat: Senior Jeff Corsaletti ranks 25th in walks nationally




























Florida had improved somewhat, but left 10 errors in just four games on the field in Birmingham, Alabama. Second baseman Adam Davis leads the team with 19 errors in 336 chances (.943).

Third baseman Brandon McArthur has committed 15 errors in just 99 chances (.848). Coach McMahon has been using freshman Matt Gaski in the latter stages for defensive purposes.

On the plus side, the middle infield tandem of Justin Tordi and Adam Davis are turning the two. Florida is among the top schools in the country in double plays with 1.05 per game. Creighton leads the nation at 1.27 DP's per game.



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Base running

Stetson's Shane Jordan is easily the Hat man on the base paths. He has stolen 24 of 33 this season. Jordan personally accounts for exactly 50% of the Hatters stolen base numbers. The fleet footed center fielder stole a base on the Gators when the two teams squared off two weeks ago. However, he was also caught was by Florida catcher Brian Jeroloman, the last time he was nailed stealing this season.

Davis leads the Gators with 22 stolen bases in 27 attempts. Corsaletti (10-11) and Barton (10-13) are second and third. Dickey was the only Florida player to steal a base against the Hatters.


Stetson's Pete Dunn has put together an impressive 964-578-3 (.624) record since taking over the head coaching job in 1980. He is one of the 20 winningest active coaches and will be making his 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Florida Coach Pat McMahon is the SEC Coach of the Year as voted by the league coaches. He is making his 10th NCAA Regional appearance.


Everything should favor the Orange and Blue. Florida will have exactly what they wanted the past several years, home field advantage throughout the Regionals and Super Regionals, all of which amounts to missing the trip to Mark Light Stadium in Coral Gables.

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