University of Florida baseball coach Joe Arnold thought he was about to watch history repeat itself Saturday afternoon at Al Lang Stadium. One day before, Arnold saw his Gators give up an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning and lose 3-2 to South Florida.
On Saturday, Florida clung to a 2-1 lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Reliever Todd McCray gave up a single and walked two batters to load the bases before getting Kevin McCray on a fly to rightfield for the final out.
"This was a big win for us today," Arnold said. "After losing yesterday in the ninth inning, it would have been very demoralizing to lose that way again. Now we have a chance to go home and win the series."
The two teams play at 1:30 p.m. today in Gainesville.
Florida (5-3) scored both its runs Saturday in the third inning. Mike Moberg doubled down the rightfield line before Herbert Perry lined a single to center. Kevin Dattola's throw to home plate was cut off by Troy Rusk, but Rusk overthrew second base and allowed Perry to move to third. Perry scored when McCray made an error on a throw to first.
"Our defense killed us early in the game," USF coach Eddie Cardieri said.