"We didn't make all the plays and we didn't pitch as well as we are capable of pitching. Those kind of weekends build up sometimes and you feel like it is going to be very difficult to beat a team that is very, very successful at home (29-5 at home).
"I'm anxious to see how Florida does when they go on the road and play Auburn and Ole Miss. They certainly have a quality ball club. It's just a matter that they have struggled on the road. They are capable of playing well on the road, but, so far, they haven't."
Second baseman Matt Graziano went 3-for-4, drove in four runs and hit a solo home run in the second inning when nine Gators went to the plate. Jeff Corsaletti drove in three Gator runs and started Florida's scoring burst in the second with a two-run double. UF solved MSU starter Todd Nicholas (4-2) early, chasing the sophomore lefty from the hill after he failed to retire the first five batters he faced in the second.
"It started with a 0-2 mislocated pitch that C.J. Smith hit pretty well to right field," said Polk. "We also misplayed a bunt and didn't make a play in the infield. Those things happen. When you are on the road and playing a good ball club, you just can't give them four outs an inning."
The Bulldogs chiped away against Florida starter Justin Hoyman (7-3), scoring twice in the third and adding another run in the fourth to make it a 6-3 game. Four of the first five Bulldogs singled to open third inning, with Steve Gendron singling in one run and Brad Corley plating another on an infield groundout. Craig Tatum opened the fourth with a double and later scored on Thomas Berkery's infield groundout.
Saunders Ramsey, who replaced Nicholas in the second, shut the Gators out in the third, fourth and fifth innings before giving up a single to Graziano and a two run home run to Ben Harrison. In a career-longest 5-1/3 inning pitching performance, Ramsey gave up four runs on three hits and struck out a career-high five.
Matthew Maniscalco was hit by a pitch to open the seventh and later came home on Matthew Brinson's second single of the day. But the Gators answered with a run in the bottom of the seventh and put the game away in the eighth. Robby Goodson, the fourth of five Bulldog pitchers in the game, retired the first two batters he faced in the inning, but the next seven Florida batters reached safely. When the inning ended, 10 UF batters had come to the plate and five touched home, two on C.J. Smith's rally-igniting two-run double down the left field line.
Hoyman worked eight innings, giving up six runs on 11 hits with seven strikeouts. Connor Falkenback retired the three batters he faced in the ninth in an inning of game-closing relief.
"I thought that we got some pretty good hacks off their ace, Justin Hoyman," said Polk. "We got 11 hits off of him. In fact, most of the ball game, we were out-hitting Florida. I thought that we did a pretty good job of putting the ball in play, but we didn't get some key hits."
Matthew Maniscalco went 2-for-4, scored three runs and in the eighth drove in two runs with his seventh home run of the year. With his showing in the Sunday finale Maniscalco moved into MSU's career top 10 in both runs scored (180) and hits (249). Junior third baseman Steve Gendron had a pair of singles as did junior first baseman Matthew Brinson, who extended his current hitting streak to a career-best 11 games.
Second-year Florida head coach Pat McMahon, who skippered the Bulldogs from 1998 to 2001, missed all of the game's 20 runs and 24 hits. McMahon was tossed from the game at the end of the first inning following a heated disagreement with plate umpire David Brooks.
The Bulldogs close out what has been a bumpy April Wednesday night, stepping away from SEC competition to host Louisiana-Monroe Apr. 30 at 6:30 p.m. State then opens May competition with a key three-game series against SEC-leading Louisiana State May 2-4 at Dudy Noble Field.
FLORIDA 14, MISSISSIPPI STATE 6
MSU 002 100 120 --- 6-11-3
FLA 060 002 15x --- 14-13-2
WP --- Justin Hoyman (7-3). LP -- Todd Nicholas (4-2). HR --- (UF) Matt Graziano (1), Ben Harrison (7); (MSU) Matthew Maniscaclo (7). T --- 2:39. ATT --- 2,638.
Todd Nicholas, Saunders Ramsey (2), Robby Goodson (7) and Craig Tatum. Tim Hoyman, Connor Falkenbach (9) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.