Citrus hammers Hernando

Published April 1, 2005

INVERNESS - Nick Van Gorder and Joey Budnick each homered, leading Citrus to a mercy-rule 15-3 victory over Hernando.

Van Gorder was 3-for-4 with six RBIs, three runs and a walk-off three-run home run in the five-inning victory. Budnick had a two-run shot in the third inning.

Chase Smith (2-3) pitched a complete game, allowing six hits, including a solo third-inning home run by Hernando's Monte Ketchum. Kyle Neal took the loss.

Citrus (7-6) has won six of its past eight games. Hernando fell to 9-3.

The Hurricanes took a 5-0 lead in the second inning. Matt Lehman hammered a two-run double for the key hit.

Budnick's blast over the rightfield fence keyed the four-run third inning.

Van Gorder's three-run shot in the fifth ended the game.

"It was a fastball on the inside corner," Van Gorder said of his final shot. "That's my second (homer) this year. We started out struggling at the beginning of the year. We knew we had the talent."

Citrus had 15 hits and took advantage of five Hernando errors. Lehman was 2-for-3 with three runs and two RBIs. Randy Hernandez was 3-for-4 with two runs. Ryan McPherson was 2-for-4 with two runs. Smith scored three.

"We're starting to come together a little bit," Citrus coach John Bolin said. "That was the best performance offensively all year long. (Van Gorder) is swinging the ball really well. Van Gorder could be a very, very big part of what we do."

Hernando coach Tim Sims thought his team was unfocused.

"They are on Spring Break right now," Sims said. "They had 13 unearned runs. We were outhustled, outcoached and outprepared. We'll bounce back."