Gators rip Vols 6-4 in College World Series

Florida defeated SEC rival Tennessee 6-4 in College World Series action at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska today. The Gators scored runs in five of their eight innings at the plate. Florida advances to play the winner of the Nebraska/Arizona State on Sunday night.

What started out so wonderfully, ended with Florida fans holding on by the edge of their seats. The Gators scored the first four runs of the game and held a potent Tennessee offensive attack scoreless. The Vols rallied to close the gap, but were unable to secure the lead. Every win in Omaha is beautiful.

Junior starter Alan Horne picked up his 10th win of the season. Horne was very effective despite pitching behind in the count much of the day. He impressively struck out the side in the first inning, and finished with eight K's on the day. However, he walked a season high six Tennessee batters.

Coach Pat McMahon had his Florida team doing exactly what he had drilled into them throughout the season, score first and get the early pressure on them. They did just that.

The Gators (46-20) scored the first run in the 2005 CWS when senior Jeff Corsaletti crossed the plate on Brian Jeroloman's fielder's choice. Corsaletti had moved to second on Tennessee catcher J.P. Arencibia's throwing error trying to catch the leadoff hitter off of the bag at third.

Florida scored again in the third as Matt LaPorta blasted a Luke Hochevar 0-1 offering deep into the left field bleachers. The 25th home run of the season tied LaPorta for the national home run lead.

The Gators scored two more in the bottom of the fourth. Shortstop Justin Tordi was hit by a Hochevar pitch on a 2-2 count. He advanced to second on designated hitter Stephen Barton's single. Corsaletti walked to load the bases. Second baseman Adam Davis reached on a throwing error by first baseman Alex Suarez, which allowed Tordi to score on the play. LaPorta sacrificed Barton home on a fly ball to center field and the Gators led 4-0.

Tennessee finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. Horne walked leadoff hitter Josh Alley on four straight pitches. Eric King followed with a single to center. J. P. Arencibia reached on a fielder's choice that forced out Alley at third. Clean-up hitter Chase Headley then hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball to left. However, Gavin Dickey lost it in the high sun. The runners moved up, but didn't attempt to score. Eli Iorg flew out to center scoring King. Florida led 4-1.

Florida answered with another run of their own in the fifth. LeClerc walked and advanced to third on Dickey's single. Tordi laid down a bunt single that loaded the bases up once again. Barton sacrificed to right, scoring LeClerc. Corsaletti then drew a walk to load them up more. Adam Davis then ripped a 1-1 pitch that looked as though the Florida lead would increase by four, but right fielder Eli Iorg leaped and stole the ball from its' potential landing spot.

Florida added its' sixth and final run in the sixth, courtesy of a solo shot by catcher Brian Jeroloman.

Tennessee scored three runs in the sixth to cut the Gators lead. Horne walked Alley on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the inning. Coach McMahon went to the pen for submariner Connor Falkenbach, who extended his Florida single season appearance record.

Unfortunately, Eric King slapped a double down the left field line leaving runners on the corners. Two batters later, Chase Headley belted a Falkenbach 3-2 pitch over the right field wall cutting the Florida lead to 6-4.

After Iorg grounded out to Justin Tordi at short, Fitzgerald singled to right field. Tennessee second baseman Michael Rivera reached on an error by Tordi, who attempted to field a ball that was stepped over by Fitzgerald. McMahon then went to lefty Mike Pete, who retired Rivera on Kelly Edmundson's fielder's choice.

Pete gave up a single in the eight to the Vols, but nothing else, thus thwarting the Vols rally. He secured the first out in the ninth on Headley's ground ball back to the mound. However, Iorg reached on an error by Tordi. Fitzgerald then reached on a fielder's choice, which saw third baseman Matt Gaski throw on the second to get Iorg. Tennessee Coach Rod Delmonico stormed out of the dugout and argued the call, using several expletives in front of the second base umpire to no avail.

McMahon went to O'Day to close out the remainder of the game. Tordi threw on the Davis for the force on Rivera's lazy bouncer to short to seal the Gators victory. O'Day picked up his seventh save.

Tennessee All-American Luke Hochevar, a last minute decision to get the nod as the starter was saddled with the loss, dropping his record to 15-3.

Senior right hander Tommy Boss (8-4) will get the call for the Gators on Sunday night against Nebraska, who beat Arizona State 5-3. The first pitch is scheduled for 7pm EST.

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