"The first game got a little bit out of hand. The second game, I thought we had pretty good control of it when we got 6 runs in the top of the fourth."
All 11 runs in the nightcap were scored in the fourth inning, with 10 of the 11 runs charged to starting pitchers Alan Johnson for MSU and UF's Tommy Boss.
State strung together six straight hits off UF starter Tommy Boss (1-2) and relief pitcher Mike Pete during its scoring burst. Steve Gendron, Matthew Brinson, Brad Corley, Robby Goodson and J.B. Tucker all hit safely in the inning, with single runs crossing the plate on the hits by Corley and Tucker. Florida made a pitching change, replacing starter Tommy Boss with Mike Pete, and Mungle greeted the new Gator pitching with a bases-loaded blast that staked MSU starter Alan Johnson to a 6-0 lead. It was Mungle's second home run of the day and his seventh this season.
The lead never changed, though the Gators battled back to within a run in the bottom of the fourth. Johnson, after retiring the first two batters he faced in the fourth, gave up a solo blast by Lee Roberson. The next six UF batters reached safely, four on singles and another on a walk off Johnson. Bulldog freshman Jamie Gant (2-1) followed Johnson on the hill with State clinging to a 6-3 lead. UF left fielder Jeff Corsaletti greeted Gant with a single to right that plated two more runs before Gant retired Brett Dowdy on an infield fly ball. Gant blanked the Gators the rest of the way during his 3-1/3 inning relief stint, working out of trouble and standing runners at second and third in the sixth.
"Mungle's grand slam wasn't a legitimate home run," said Polk of the wind blown home run by Mungle. "Nor was the home run hit by Roberson. This ball park plays so short in left field with the wind blowing out. Even in the first game I thought there were a couple of balls that we hit that I thought were going to be fly balls, but they just carried and carried. You don't feel good about a lead in this ball park." Jonathan Papelbon replaced Gant in the eighth and held Florida scoreless with two perfect innings of relief.
Butts and Corley had two singles each to lead MSU.
In the opener, Florida pounded out 14 hits and belted three home runs to top Mississippi State 13-5. It was the highest run total allowed by Bulldog pitching this season.
The Gators plated three runs on four singles, a hit batsman and a walk and a pair of sacrifice bunts in the second inning off MSU starter Paul Maholm (6-2). The Bulldogs, who failed to score in the first inning after loading the base, got on the scoreboard with a pair of walks in the third inning and a two-run double by Matthew Brinson.
Florida expanded its lead to 4-2 with Jeff Corsalleti's solo home run in the third and pulled away with a three-run Brian Rose shot during a four-run burst in the fourth.
"That ball that Rose hit the home run on was four or five inches off his feet," said Polk. "It looked like a quality pitch. It is very, very difficult to pitch here."
The Bulldogs scored three of their five runs with the long ball, including a fourth inning solo shot by Jon Mungle, his sixth blast of the year, and a two-run sixth-inning home run to right by Matthew Brinson, his seventh of the campaign.
Florida piled up 14 hits, three by center fielder Ben Harrison and two each by Rose, Corsaletti and Justin Tordi.
The Gators further expanded their lead on the strength Fritz Reichardt's three-run home run in the seventh. Reichardt collected his fourth RBI of the game an inning later with a sacrifice fly.
Adam Sanabria (1-1), who replaced Madson in the third inning, picked up his first win of the year, scattering five hits and allowing four runs over five innings. Darren O'Day allowed one base runner and struck out four in two innings of relief.
Maholm, who entered the game with the SEC's leading earned average, gave up eight runs on 10 hits, striking out four and walking one in five innings of work. Jacob Blakeney was charged with five runs on four hits and four walks in three innings of relief.
"I thought that Florida swung the bats very well off of Paul," said Polk. "Did Paul have his best stuff? Probably not. But I thought that Florida had a good approach. There were a lot of two-strike hits off of Paul and they put the ball in play. The thing that Florida did today, in both games, when they put the ball in play hard, it seemed like we were not in the right place. We do a good job with our scouting report. Some days you are lucky and some days you aren't."
Florida claimed a 13-5 decision in the opener. The Bulldogs and the Gators close out their three-game set Sunday at Noon (CDT). MSU will thrown sophomore lefty Todd Nicholas (4-1, 2.68) and Florida will throw sophomore right-hander Justin Hoyman (6-3, 2.78).
"Todd Nicholas pitched lights out for us last weekend in South Carolina," said Polk of his hard-throwing lefthander. "If he does the same thing, we will be in a heck of a ball game tomorrow. And Hoyman is a very good pitcher. If we can win (Sunday), we are in really good shape."
FLORIDA 13, MISSISSIPPI STATE 5 (GAME 1)
MSU 002 100 200 --- 5- 6- 1
FLA 031 400 32x --- 13-14- 0
WP - Adam Sanabria (1-1). LP - Paul Maholm (6-2). HR - (UF) Jeff Corsalatti (4), Brian Rose (9), Fritz Reichardt (1); (MSU) Jon Mungle (6), Matthew Brinson (7). T - 2:47.
Paul Maholm, Jacob Blakeney (6) and Craig Tatum. Christian Madson, Adam Sanabria (3), Darren O'Day (8) and Brian Rose.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 6, FLORIDA 5 (GAME 2)
MSU 000 600 000 --- 6 - 9- 2
FLA 000 500 000 --- 5 - 9- 0
WP - Jamie Gant (2-1). LP - Tommy Boss (1-2). SV - Jonathan Papelbon (6). HR - (MSU) Jon Mungle (7); (UF) Lee Roberson (1). T - 2:47. ATT - 2,053.
Alan Johnson, Jamie Gant (4), Jonathan Papelbon (8) and J.B. Tucker. Tommy Boss, Mike Pete (4), Connor Falkenbach (8) and Brian Rose.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.