LaPorta powers Gators


Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

ATHENS, Ga. - Matt LaPorta hit two home runs and had three RBIs to lead Florida to a 9-1 win over Georgia on Saturday.

The Gators (17-13, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) took a 4-0 lead in the third inning, highlighted by LaPorta's two-run homer. It was the fifth straight game he had a home run - a school record.

LaPorta, who has 67 career homers, is tied for third on the SEC's all-time list with Rafael Palmeiro (1983-85), who attended Mississippi State.

LaPorta, who went 3-for-4, has 13 home runs this season. He is hitting .433, has produced three consecutive two-home run efforts in SEC play. LaPorta's 67 career homers tie him for third on the SEC's all-time list with

Mississippi State standout Rafael Palmeiro .

Cole Figueroa had a two-run single to give Florida a 8-1 lead in the seventh.

Tony Davis (2-0) allowed one run, five hits and had three strikeouts in 5 innings for Florida. David Hurst earned his third save of the season.

Stephen Dodson (1-4) gave up six runs - two earned - and six hits in 5 innings for the Bulldogs (10-16, 3-5). Georgia's Joel Lewis hit a solo homer in the fifth inning.

Freshman right-hander Billy Bullock (2-3, 5.23) will start today's finale at 2 p.m. on Cox Sports against freshman LHP Justin Earls (2-1, 2.88). UF is seeking its first sweep in Athens since 1993.

A two-out throwing error by Dodson triggered a four-run outburst by the Gators in the third. The right-hander retired the first two batters before allowing back-to-back singles to freshman Matt den Dekker and junior Jon Townsend. Dodson then threw away a grounder by sophomore Avery Barnes, allowing both runners to score and Barnes to occupy third. LaPorta, who hit two home runs in Friday's win, provided the visitors with a 4-0 lead with his home run.

LaPorta hit a leadoff homer to start the sixth and a one-out single by senior Austin Pride ended the afternoon for Dodson. Pride moved into scoring position with his team-leading fourth stolen base and advanced to third on a groundout by senior Chris Petrie. A wild pitch by rookie Alex McRee allowed Pride to come across with UF's sixth run.

Figueroa padded the Gators' lead to 8-1 with a bases-loaded, two-run single in the seventh. Freshman Hampton Tignor drew a leadoff walk but was erased on denDekker's sacrifice attempt. After a walk to Townsend, McRee uncorked a wild pitch to leave runners on second and third. The decision to walk LaPorta intentionally backfired when Figueroa roped a 1-1 offering into left to create a seven-run bulge. Sophomore reliever Iain Sebastian replaced McKee and prevented further trouble by fanning Pride.

Den Dekker's sacrifice fly in the eighth finalized the 9-1 margin.

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