FSU takes the season matchup against UF

Published: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 1:24 a.m.
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Florida shortstop Justin Tordi rifles the ball to first base Tuesday to complete a double play after the force out of Florida State's Shane Robinson at McKethan Stadium.

ROB C. WITZEL/The Gainesville Sun
As solemn and downtrodden as No. 6 Florida was following a 9-4 loss to No. 22 Florida State Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium, perhaps Seminoles coach Mike Martin had the ultimate pick-me-up afterward.
"I think Florida has established themselves as a legitimate No. 1 seed (in the NCAA Regionals)," Martin said. "Florida State hasn't."
The Gators may have a better postseason resume at this point in the season. But the Seminoles have something of almost equal value to these teams - the season series.
The fourth largest crowd in McKethan Stadium history - 5,483 - watched the Seminoles capture the third and final regular-season game between these rivals. The Seminoles (38-14) got three RBIs from P.K. Yonge graduate Ryne Malone and a brilliant relief effort from Suwannee graduate Tyler Chambliss to snap a three-game losing streak at McKethan Stadium. Florida (31-13) has now lost two in a row and three of its last four as it prepares to head to Arkansas this weekend for a three-game series.
"Obviously this is a tough loss four our ball club," Gators coach Pat McMahon said. "Give Florida State credit. They were very opportunistic."
And Florida wasn't. The Gators squandered their best chance to rally for the win when Chambliss struck out Florida catcher Brian Jeroloman on a 3-2 curve ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth to preserve FSU's 6-4 lead.
The Gators missed on a chance for a big inning as Florida scored one run despite having five straight singles. The biggest blow came when Gavin Dickey was picked off second base by Kevin Lynch with one out.
On a night which featured a handful of game-changing plays, Dickey's pick-off was perhaps the biggest.
"I was just trying to steal the bag," Dickey said. "I got off too far. I should have gotten back safely."
McMahon defended his left fielder afterward.
"That was not mental. It was really physical," McMahon said. "Sometimes being overly aggressive turns out poorly."
Florida State then scored three times in the ninth to take a 9-4 lead. Malone blasted a two-run double and scored on a Gibbs Chapman single.
Malone won his first game over Florida in Gainesville since passing on the Gators to attend Florida State prior to last season.
"It was a big win," Malone said. "We got two of three (from Florida) which is a big confidence boost."
The teams split the first two games of the series earlier this year in Tallahassee with Florida winning 9-2 on March 30 and FSU winning 4-2 on April 19.
Florida freshman Stephen Locke, who was the winning pitcher in the first meeting, didn't have as much success this time. Locke had trouble with his control and was hit up for four runs on five hits over four innings. He walked three and struck out five.
Two of the three batters Locke walked scored and another - designated hitter Brant Preacher - hit a two-run home run on a 3-0 pitch. The homer, Preacher's second, broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth.
Locke (5-1) suffered his first loss as a Gator.
FSU starter Mark Sauls (5-1) got the win after holding the Gators to three runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Matt LaPorta led Florida with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate while Brandon McArthur added two hits.
Martin's assessment of the two team's chances to host an NCAA Regional has backing. The Seminoles are currently fifth in the ACC and have a projected RPI of 44. Florida is in first place in the SEC and currently has the fifth best RPI in the country.
"They've got everything," Martin said.
You can reach Brandon Zimmerman by calling 374-5051 or by e-mail at

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