Gators down State in game two
By By Chris Whitaker/Special to The Star
May 5, 2002
Mississippi State could not muster enough runs in the ninth inning to beat SEC foe Florida on Saturday as the Gators took game two of the three-game set 5-3.
The Bulldogs (27-18-1, 11-11) entered the ninth inning down three runs with reliever Jamie Goldfarb on the mound for the Gators (34-13, 15-8). Steve Gendron scored the lone run of the inning beginning the sequence reaching first base on an error by Ryan Shealy. Pinch-hitter Winston Pearson doubled to the right side sending Gendron to third and then Jason Burkley flew out to right bringing him in. Despite the effort of the team's performance, first baseman Matthew Brinson who went one-for-three was unhappy.
Bulldog Pitcher Tanner Brock got off to a slow start giving up three runs in the first inning before bouncing back with six scoreless. He finished going seven innings giving up five runs and seven hits while striking out four.
Matt Kiger opened the game with a lead-off single to right field. Two batters later Brock walked Matt Goss and Shealy singled into left field. Brock walked the second batter of the inning before Pat Osborn came up, singling to right field driving in Goss and Shealy. However, coach Ron Polk said the team pitched well.
Gendron said the team felt good and had a shot to come back and win. Brinson was also upset about the team's capability of coming from behind.
While Brock was recovering from the first inning, Florida pitcher Alex Hart tied his career high with seven strikeouts pushing his record to 11-1 on the year. Hart pitched four scoreless innings before giving up two runs to the Bulldogs in the fifth. Casey Long singled driving in Steve Gendron from second and Jason Burkley scored off a wild pitch by Hart. Chad Henry struck out to end the inning, stranding runners on second and third. Gendron said Hart threw strikes and put the ball in the right place.
The Bulldogs came back knocking on the door in the sixth after Brinson walked. He advanced to second when Florida second baseman Aaron Davidson committed an error. Gendron then hit into a fielder's choice where Brinson was called out at third. Jon Mungle struck out looking and Burkley grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning leaving runners on first and second. The Bulldogs stranded seven total in the game with four in scoring position. Polk said the team lacked timely hitting and they struck out twice in situations where they could have walked because of bad pitches.
Florida scored two insurance runs in the eighth as Mario Garza singled to right, driving in Shealy and pinch-hitter Ben Harrison. Shealy went two-for-five scoring twice.