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Florida Gator baseball team punches ticket to Omaha

After retiring Scott Lawson at second, Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana throws to complete a double play in the first inning.

Associated Press

After retiring Scott Lawson at second, Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana throws to complete a double play in the first inning.

GAINESVILLE — In 12 of their 18 postseason meetings, Miami has gotten the best of Florida, having ended the Gators' season eight times. It took extra innings Saturday night, but this time things went in Florida's favor.

The Gators rallied for a 4-3, 10-inning victory over UM in front of a record 5,783 at McKethan Stadium, wrapping up their super region series in two games.

Florida (47-15) advances to the College World Series, which begins Saturday in Omaha, Neb.

"There are just under 300 teams every year that set out to get to Omaha, and it's awfully hard to get there," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "The last game is usually the hardest, and you saw that (Saturday night). I'm really proud of these guys."

Florida trailed 3-2 after Nathan Melendres, on a 1-1 count with two outs, hit a three-run homer to rightfield to give UM the lead in the bottom of the seventh (UM, though on the road, batted last).

But the Gators rebounded in the ninth. Miami third baseman Michael Broad's fielding error loaded the bases with one out, then UM committed another error on a throw to first base by shortstop Stephen Perez and the Gators tied it when Tampa's Preston Tucker, a Plant grad, scored.

Florida scored the winning run on a double down the rightfield line by Austin Maddox that scored Nolan Fontana, who reached on a fielding error.

"I'll remember that hit for the rest of my life," Maddox said.

The Hurricanes (43-20) had a season-high seven errors, tying the school record dating to 1978.

"Obviously we didn't play very well," Miami coach Jim Morris said. "You make seven errors against a good ballclub you're not going to win, and Florida is an outstanding club."

UF starting pitcher Hudson Randall went 62/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. Hernandez, UM's ace, went 81/3 innings with three hits, four strikeouts, three walks and two runs (one earned).

NOTE: Miami third baseman Harold Martinez had surgery Friday at UF's Shands Hospital to remove a lump in his left shin.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Florida 4

Miami 3

10 INNINGS

Florida Gator baseball team punches ticket to Omaha 06/12/10 [Last modified: Saturday, June 12, 2010 11:25pm]
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