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April 10, 2004

Box Score

Columbia, S.C. – Florida answered a four run South Carolina seventh inning with two scores in the top of the eighth Saturday to win a see saw battle 9-8 and even a Southeastern Conference baseball series at one game apiece.

The rubber game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Sunday at Sarge Frye Field. Florida, ranked 17th, improved its record to 26-9 overall, 6-5 in the SEC. Sixth ranked South Carolina dropped to 24-7, 5-6.

Darren O’Day pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for Florida to get the win, improving his record to 4-1. O’Day allowed five hits and four runs but all of them were unearned. He walked one and struck out three. Chad Blackwell worked the final three innings for South Carolina. He allowed five hits and the two earned Gator runs in the eighth inning to take the loss, evening his record at 2-2.

Florida leadoff batter Jonathan Tucker had a perfect day at the plate with four hits and a walk in five appearances. He drove in three runs. One of Tucker’s hits was a double. C. J. Smith and Adam Davis had two hits for the Gators. Smith and Austin Easley contributed doubles and Davis drove in two runs.

Michael Campbell tied a South Carolina school record with two triples, the second coming with the bases loaded in the four run South Carolina seventh inning. He also tripled in the sixth inning and scored on a double by Brendan Winn. Davy Gregg had three infield hits for the second consecutive game for South Carolina. Campbell, Winn and Tommy King had two hits apiece for the Gamecocks.

Landon Powell, who ended the 10 inning Friday night game with a walk off home run in a 5-4 South Carolina victory, hit a two run first inning homer Saturday on the first pitch he saw from Florida starting pitcher Bryan Ball. Gregg scored ahead of Powell’s ninth homer.

The 2-0 lead was short lived as Florida rocked South Carolina starter Matt Campbell for five runs on four hits, a walk and a Gamecock error in the top of the second inning. Smith, Easley and Tucker doubled and Davis singled in the rally.

The lead stretched to 6-2 in the fourth inning when the Gamecocks committed two errors, one by Matt Campbell on an attempted pickoff, and Tucker drove in Davis with a base hit. South Carolina got that run back in the bottom of the inning on a walk to Powell, a sacrifice, and an RBI single by Ryan Mahoney.

Florida went up 7-4 in the seventh. Tucker walked and both runners were safe when Jeff Corsaletti’s sacrifice bunt was mishandled for the fourth South Carolina error of the game. Tucker was out at the plate on a throw from Gamecock right fielder Winn on a single by Ben Harrison but Corsaletti scored on a wild pitch.

South Carolina took its first lead since the first inning with four unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh. King singled, Gregg beat out his third infield hit with one out. Steve Pearce fanned for the second out. With the Florida infield in a radical defensive infield shift, Powell hit a hard ground ball which second baseman Davis booted in short right field for an error to load the bases. Campbell tripled down the right field line for the second time to clear the bases. He scored the go ahead run on an infield hit by Winn.

Trailing 8-7, Florida scored twice in the top of the eighth to regain the lead. Justin Jordi singled with one out. With two outs Davis singled and Tucker and Corsaletti followed with base hits to drive in Tordi and Davis with what proved to be the deciding runs.

South Carolina threatened with two base runners in the bottom of the ninth. Steve Pearce singled with one out and after he moved to second on passed ball Powell was intentionally walked. However Michael Campbell struck out and Winn popped out to first to end the game.