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South Florida Bulls down Miami Hurricanes in baseball; No. 5 Florida State Seminoles hand No. 1 Florida Gators first loss

TAMPA — USF got its first win against Miami in seven years, but it wasn't the only upset on Tuesday night at the Florida Four at Steinbrenner Field.

Top-ranked Florida took its first loss of the season, falling 5-3 to fifth-ranked Florida State, after the Bulls opened the doubleheader with a 4-2 victory against Miami.

An announced crowd of 7,869 — down slightly from last year's 8,348 — saw four of the state's top programs on a blustery night.

"It was an excellent baseball game, great attendance. Florida is a heck of a baseball team," said FSU coach Mike Martin, whose team gets the Gators again in Gainesville on March 15.

"The inning we got five was certainly not one I thought would be it. We got shut out for eight innings, but we scored in that one."

FSU (8-0) struck for five runs in the third inning, two on a bases-loaded infield single by James Ramsey and two on a triple by first baseman Jayce Boyd.

Gators starter Tommy Toledo didn't make it out of the third, and reliever Alex Panteiodis, an Alonso High grad like Toledo, allowed all three inherited runners to score.

FSU relievers Daniel Bennett and Mike McGee retired the final nine batters in order, with McGee striking out the side in the ninth.

"I thought the key to the game was them bringing in Bennett and him retiring six in a row; then McGee did his thing in the ninth," said Gators coach Kevin O'Sullivan, whose team (7-1) lost to its state rival in Tampa for the second year in a row. "I wasn't real pleased with the seventh, eighth and ninth. We really didn't get anything going."

In the first game, a pair of unlikely stars stepped up for USF (2-5). Left-hander Matt Reed held the Hurricanes (4-4) to one run on four hits in seven innings, and after Miami rallied to tie the score at 2, designated hitter Andrew Longley came through with a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth.

"To beat a program like the University of Miami and really outplay them the whole game, I'm just so proud of our guys," said coach Lelo Prado, whose team lost 15-2 to the Hurricanes in this event last year.

"Last year we were embarrassed here. We didn't want to be embarrassed this year."

Reed, making a case to be USF's midweek (No. 4) starter, didn't get the win, but Longley made sure the Bulls did. The junior from Sickles High went into the game batting .133, with two hits in his first 15 at-bats, but he went 3-for-4 against the Hurricanes, stepping up with the winning single up the middle off second baseman Michael Broad's glove.

"Right before the at-bat, Prado told me just to relax, not try to do too much," Longley said. "He knows we all want to be that guy. It was my opportunity today, and I just came through. It could have been any of us."

USF is 2-5, and though the Bulls were swept by Florida and outscored 16-3 in those games to open the season, they aren't lacking confidence.

"We know we're the best team in Florida, no doubt about it," Longley said. "Florida got away with a couple ones, and we should have put them away. We'll get them the next time we see them."

Miami plays a three-game series at Florida this weekend. The Hurricanes played Tuesday without coach Jim Morris, who is recovering in a Miami hospital after having surgery Friday to remove his gallbladder.

South Florida Bulls down Miami Hurricanes in baseball; No. 5 Florida State Seminoles hand No. 1 Florida Gators first loss 03/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 10:17am]
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