Baseball Falls In Ninth To No. 18 Florida

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Junior Matt Bush collected two hits, an RBI and scored a run in Friday's loss to Florida.
Junior Matt Bush collected two hits, an RBI and scored a run in Friday's loss to Florida.

March 5, 2004

Gainesville, Fla. - Despite taking a lead late in the game, the Purdue baseball team could not hold on as it was defeated 8-7 after a ninth inning run by the 18th-ranked Florida Gators on Friday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville.

The Boilermakers collected 13 hits in the game but were plagued by defensive mistakes as they committed five errors and fell to 1-3 on the season.

Purdue opened the scoring in the second inning as first baseman Eric Wolfe (So., Toronto, Ontario) led off with a single to right field. Left fielder Rob Brockel (Fr., Pewaukee, Wis.) followed with another single after which designated hitter Matt Bush (Jr., Indianapolis, Ind.) beat out a bunt to load the bases with nobody out. Right fielder Andy Dahl (Jr., Fair Oaks, Calif.) then grounded to short and as Florida turned a double play, Wolfe scored the game's first run.

Florida tied the game at one in the third against Purdue starter Scott Byrnes (Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) but the Boilermakers regained the lead with a run in the fifth. After two were two were out, Purdue loaded the bases with three straight singles by shortstop Mitch Koester (Sr., Effingham, Ill.), center fielder Mike Coles (Jr., Hammond, Ind.) and catcher Ben Fritz (Sr., Minnetonka, Minn.). Third baseman Simon Klink (Sr., Auburn, Ind.) was then hit by a pitch to force in the run from third.

The Gators got back in front in their half of the fifth, first tying the game off of Ben Harrison's fifth home run of the season and then taking a 3-2 lead with a sacrifice fly. Byrnes (0-1) turned the game over to the bullpen after five innings of work.

After taking advantage of two Purdue errors and a pair of singles Florida scored twice more in the sixth making the score 5-2. Purdue then plated a single run in the seventh on a double by Coles that drove in Koester from first, who had walked.

The Boilermaker bats heated up in the eighth as Wolfe led off with a double. Brockel followed with a single to make it first and third. Bush then ripped a double down the right field line to score Wolfe, move Brockel to third, and chase Florida starter Justin Hoyman (3-0) from the game. Dahl beat out a bunt scoring Brockel and again putting runners on first and third. Bush scored on a bunt by pinch hitter Mitch Hilligoss (Fr., Windsor, Ill.) on which Florida committed an error allowing Hilligoss to reach base and Dahl to score. Dahl's run was the fourth of the inning and gave Purdue a 7-5 edge.

Purdue could not hold the lead in the bottom of eighth as Florida scored twice to tie. Held scoreless in the top of the ninth the Boilermakers looked to push the game to extra innings tied at seven. However, Florida led off the inning on a two-base error, Purdue's fifth miscue of the game, and followed with a double to left-center scoring the winning run.

Jason Driscoll (Sr., Mishawaka, Ind.) was hit for the loss for Purdue to put his record at 0-1 while Lee Roberson (1-0) picked up the win for Florida. The victory marked the ninth in a row for the Gators and improves their season record to 13-3.