Miami too much for Florida baseball

Published: Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 29, 2008 at 11:58 p.m.

CORAL GABLES Having caught Miami's Eric Erickson while at Sarasota High, Florida catcher Hampton Tignor was aware of how dominating the Hurricanes' sophomore left-hander can be.

Erickson showed the rest of Tignor's teammates just how good he is during No. 9 Miami's 8-4 win over Florida Friday night at sold-out Mark Light Stadium.

Erickson (2-0) retired the first 15 Gators of the game and carried a no hitter into the sixth inning. He struck out nine in 6 innings and threw 71 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

"The game started and ended with Eric Erickson," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "He was sharp tonight. We knew from the beginning that if we had to fight from behind against Erickson it would be tough."

Not surprisingly, Erickson's no hitter was broken up by his high school catcher Tignor with one out in the sixth. By then, however, the Hurricanes led 7-0 and Florida's chances of a comeback were slim.

"We're disappointed," Tignor said. "We came in knowing they were a good team. We played a little bit of a sloppy game. We look forward to getting after it (tonight)."

It was just the second time the Hurricanes (4-0) have beaten the Gators (5-1) in their last nine meetings. The teams will resume their three-game series tonight at 7.

Erickson, a 2007 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, lost his perfect game when he walked Jon Townsend on four pitches to open the sixth inning. Two batters later, Tignor ended Erickson's no-hit bid when he lined a double into the right-center field gap with one out.

Florida would go on to score twice in the inning on a Buddy Munroe pinch-hit single and a Clayton Pisani run-scoring fielder's choice to cut Miami's lead to 7-2.

Erickson's night finally ended in the seventh inning when Florida right fielder Jonathan Pigott blasted a two-run home run into a row of palm trees behind the left-field fence. That made it 7-4 Miami.

But Hurricane relievers Kyle Bellamy and Carlos Gutierrez held Florida hitless over the final two innings, striking out four.

"We were out of our whole game tonight," O'Sullivan said. "The things we do well, running, stealing bases, we couldn't do tonight."

Miami battered Florida starter Kyle Mullaney for six runs on eight hits over 4 innings. Five of those runs, however, were unearned after Florida committed two costly errors in the game.

The biggest came during Miami's four-run second when Pisani let an Adan Steverino ground ball go under his legs with a runner on second and no out.

"That hurt a little bit," O'Sullivan said. "But those things are going to happen. We've got to overcome it."

Miami finally chased Mullaney in the fifth inning after shortstop Ryan Jackson doubled home Steverino after fouling off five pitches to put the Hurricanes ahead 5-0. Miami would extend its lead to 7-0 with two more runs in the inning, the last coming when Jason Hagerty scored on a Clint Franklin wild pitch.

"It's always tough to lose," said Franklin, who at one point set down eight straight Hurricanes in relief. "Hopefully we'll come out and win (tonight)."

NOTES: Florida hasn't been no-hit in 2,427 games dating back to 1963. ... Shortstop Cole Figueroa, who entered the game hitting .533 on the year, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. ... Florida made two errors after entering the game with three errors on the season.

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