Florida nips Vanderbilt in game one, 5-4

Nashville, Tenn. – The Florida Gators scored five runs in the fifth inning, including a solo homerun by Brian Leclerc and a grand slam by Matt LaPorta, to defeat the Vanderbilt Commodores, 5-4, Friday at Hawkins Field. The Commodores scored four runs of their own in their half of the inning to narrow the Gator lead to one.

Vanderbilt rallied in the ninth inning beginning with a single by Rucker Taylor. David Macias pinch ran for Taylor and moved to second on a ground out by Brian Hernandez. Warner Jones hit an infield single to place runners at first and third before reliever Connor Falkenbach forced Dominic de la Osa to ground out to the mound to end the game.

After four scoreless innings, Florida took a 5-0 lead in the fifth. LeClerc hit a leadoff homerun over the right field wall. Gavin Dickey singled up the middle and moved to third when Jeff Corsaletti hit a double over third base. Adam Davis walked to load the bases. With no outs and a full count, LaPorta hit a grand slam off the top of Memorial Gym in left field to give the Gators the 5-0 lead.

The Commodores cut the Gator lead to one, 5-4, in their half of the inning. Matt Zeller led off the inning with a single through the left side and moved to second on an Aaron Garza single through the same spot. Antoan Richardson singled through the right side to load the bases. Alex Feinberg hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring Zeller and moving Garza to third. Garza scored when Alan Horne's pickoff attempt got by the first baseman moving Richardson to second. Taylor drew a walk and Baxter singled to the shortstop loading the bases again. Brian Hernandez hit a two-RBI single to left center scoring Taylor and Richardson.

VU's Jensen Lewis went 5.1 innings allowing five runs (five earned) on seven hits in his third loss of the season (8-3). He struck out seven and walked four. Horne earned the win (7-2) going 8.0 innings allowing four runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Stephen Shao pitched 3.2 scoreless innings for the Commodores allowing just one hit. He struck out two and walked two.

Steven Porter went .1 inning for the Gators, while Falkenbach pitched the final .2 inning allowing one hit.

The Commodores totaled 12 hits led by Antoan Richardson who was 3-4 with one run scored. Hernandez and Zeller each had two hits.

Vanderbilt is 34-19, 13-15 in the SEC, while Florida remains in first place with a 36-18 overall mark, 18-10 in the SEC.

Freshman left-hander David Price (2-4, 3.03 ERA) is on the mound for the Commodores Saturday at 2 pm. Bryan Ball (6-3, 2.92) will start for the Gators.

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