Florida batters Northwestern

Published: Monday, March 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 29, 2004 at 11:51 p.m.


Today's game

  • WHO: Northwestern (2-5-1) at Florida (10-3).

  • WHEN: 6:30 p.m.

  • WHERE: McKethan Stadium.

  • ON AIR: AM 850.

  • The maturation of Florida freshman left-hander Steven Porter may not have accelerated Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. But with some brilliant relief work from Connor Falkenbach, aggressive base running and a surprise pinch-hit home run from Florida's most well-known freshman, the Gators cruised past Northwestern 12-3 as a crowd of 2,133 looked on.
    The Gators (10-3) will go for their first three-game sweep of the season when they close out their series with the Wildcats (2-5-1) tonight at 6:30.
    "I want to sweep every weekend," said Florida outfielder Ben Harrison, who was 2-for-2 and scored three runs. "When you're sitting 2-0, you have to get the sweep."
    The Gators preserved their deep bullpen when Falkenbach pitched the final five innings in relief of Porter to earn the win. Falkenbach gave up one run on three hits, walked none and struck out three to improve to 3-0 on the season.
    "I thought Connor Falkenbach was outstanding for us on the mound today," coach Pat McMahon said.
    Florida got their 12 runs with the benefit of just 12 hits, scoring in several crafty ways. In the first, the Gators plated two runs on a sacrifice fly by C.J. Smith that was caught by right fielder Jason Krynski as he collided with center fielder Doug Beatty. Adam Davis tagged and scored from third, while Harrison scored all the way from second as Krynski remained on the ground after the collision.
    "The key for us, I thought, was scoring two runs early on an exciting play, then expanding the lead," McMahon said.
    In the fourth, a safety squeeze bunt by Florida's Brian Jeroloman scored Jeff Corsaletti from third.
    Florida then scored five runs in the seventh with the benefit of only two hits. Florida scored on a wild pitch, a passed ball, a sacrifice fly and a two-run single by Brian Leclerc.
    Davis scored from second on the wild pitch after catcher Dan Pohlman couldn't find the ball, which was sitting only 15 feet behind him.
    "Adam Davis is doing a great job on the bases," Harrison said. "It's just hustle and hard work we do in practice."
    Freshman outfielder Gavin Dickey hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth to cap the scoring. The home run was the first of Dickey's career and came in his second career at-bat.
    Meanwhile, the Gators have used only three pitchers in the first two games of the series after Justin Hoyman's complete game Saturday. The Gators will start either sophomore right-hander Bryan Ball or freshman right-hander Matt Fuchs tonight.
    Porter gave Florida four solid innings in his third career start but was not happy with his performance afterward, saying he "took a step back."
    Porter gave up two runs on four hits in four innings but walked three.
    He got himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the second when he struck out second baseman Caleb Fields.
    "He's still growing as a pitcher," pitching coach Ross Jones said. "He's still learning."
    You can reach Brandon Zimmerman by calling 374-5051 or by e-mail at zimmerb@gvillesun.com.

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