Garner leads Alabama to three-game sweep

By By Mark Etheridge / staff writer
April 8, 2002
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Travis Garner laced a bases-loading single through the drawn infield to give Alabama a 6-5 win over Florida Sunday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The dramatic win completed a three-game sweep over the sixth-ranked Gators.
Garner's hit came after Florida had scored three runs with two outs in the top of the ninth to tie the game.
Garner, a junior college transfer from Meridian Community College, deflected the praise to his teammates.
Florida (24-10 6-6) scratched first in the second inning when Aaron Davidson walked. Davidson was almost picked off first. Tide first
baseman Zac Welch dropped the throw after making the tag. Jeff Corsaletti followed with a single advancing Davidson to third. He later scored the unearned run on a sacrifice fly to right by Brian Rose.
The Gators loaded the bases in the fourth inning but Tide starter Shane Sanders got Florida's Pat Osborn to fly out to right.
Alabama (28-5 9-3) loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth and scored as Gator catcher Rose dropped the ball on a force play at the plate.
Alabama threatened in the bottom of the seventh as first baseman Zac Welch grounded a single past the bag at third. That ended the day for Keith Ramsey after six innings. Jamie Goldfarb came on the face the top of the Tide order starting with Scott McClanahan. After a strikeout, Pavkovich singled through the box setting runners at first and second. A fielder's choice put runners on the corners and gave Florida a chance to get out of the inning.
But Florida tried a pick-off play that saw the ball get away and pinch runner John Marshall scoring from third. With first base now open, Jeremy Brown was walked intentionally bringing up the hot hitting Beau Hearod. Hearod chopped one up the middle for his third hit of the game scoring Stonard and advancing Brown to third.
Florida's Ryan Shealy hit his thirteenth home run of the season in the eighth cutting the lead to one.
Allen Rice led off the the bottom of the eighth with a seeing eye single to center. After Rice was cut down on an unsuccessful sacrifice attempt by Garner, Spencer Pennington stepped in and blasted a "no-doubt" dinger to right giving the Tide a three-run cushion. The blast was the freshman Pennington's first career homerun and came on his first at bat of the game.
Pennington's homerun was the first by an Alabama football player since Phillip Doyle in 1991.
Hearod reached in the ninth on his fourth hit of the game. Boyd followed with a well-placed bounding single to left. Rice then laced his third
hit of the game to right loading the bases with one out for Garner. With the infield in, Garner singled past the diving stab of shortstop Mark
Kiger to plate Hearod with the winning run.
Taylor Tankersley blew the save but got the win improving to 5-2. Kevin Coleman (0-2) took the loss. Alabama now has 11 consecutive wins
over Florida and three straight sweeps. The Tide has won all 22 home games this season and 26 dating back to May 1, 2001.
Alabama won the Friday night 4-1 behind a complete game performance by senior pitcher Lance Cormier. Cormier became the school's all-time leader in wins with 28.
Saturday the Tide pinned the first loss of the season on Gator ace Alex Hart. Jeffrey Norris and Brian Reed shut down the vaunted Florida offense in the 7-2 win. Scott McClanahan and Jeremy Brown both homered in a four-run third inning.
Alabama travels to UAB Wednesday in midweek action before traveling to Lexington for three games against Kentucky over the weekend.

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