Feb. 28, 1998
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Third baseman Jose Zabala contributed the game-winning RBI and a diving catch to end the game as No. 25 Florida State (11-6) came back from a 7-3 deficit in the fifth inning to defeat No. 4 Florida (9-4), 9-7, in front of 4,614 fans at Dick Howser Stadium.
Trailing 7-3, the Seminoles rallied to score four runs on five hits in the fifth inning and tie the score. Second baseman Brooks Badeaux and third baseman Jose Zabala led off the inning with a pair of singles. Designated hitter Kevin Cash advanced the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt. Catcher Jeremy Salazar ripped one of his three hits on the day to knock in Badeaux and Zabala.
Florida starter Brad Wilkerson was then relieved by Jeff Cardozo to face centerfielder Brian Cox who belted a single to centerfield. Salazar stole home on a double steal with Cox. Rightfielder Matt Diaz then tied the score at 7-7 with an RBI-basehit to drive Cox home. Cardozo (1-2) gave up two runs on three hits in the loss for Florida.
The Seminoles took the lead in the sixth inning with an infield hit by Jose Zabala that drove in shortstop Brett Groves. Zabala provided another RBI-single in the seventh inning to give FSU a two-run cushion.
Florida State relievers shut down the Gators for the final five innings of the game. Florida left 12 runners on base in the last five innings, including bases loaded in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings. Mike Smalley (1-1) held the Gators to four hits in 2 1/3 innings as he picked up the win for the Seminoles.
Righthander Scott Proctor struck out two batters in the final two innings to earn his first save of the season for FSU.
Salazar extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 3-for-5 outing and four RBI on the day. Matt Diaz blasted a solo home run in third inning and finished the game with two hits and two RBI.
Florida used three home runs for their offensive production in the second and fourth innings. Catcher David Ross belted a two-run home in the second and first baseman Jason Dill hit a solo blast off FSU starter Chris Chavez. Wilkerson gave the Gators a 7-3 lead with a three-run home run in the fourth inning.
Neither starter earned a decision. Wilkerson gave up six runs on eight hits and struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings for the Gators. Chavaz surrendered six runs on six hitts and fanned one batter in 3 1/3 innings pitched.
The two teams will play again tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. The game will be televised live on the Sunshine Network.
UF 020 500 000 7 12 1 FSU 003 041 10x 9 16 0
E-Martin. LOB-UF 15, FSU 10. 2B-Martin, Badeaux, Jernigan. HR-Wilkerson, Dill, Ross, M. Diaz. WP-Smalley (1-1). LP-Cardozo (1-2). Save-Proctor (1).