By WAYNE GRUMET
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001
LAND O'LAKES -- Land O'Lakes quickly wore down visiting Hernando on Saturday afternoon.
The Gators used aggressive baserunning to score three early runs. Shortly thereafter, Hernando collapsed, allowing Land O'Lakes to pull away for a 16-2 win in five innings.
Land O'Lakes third baseman Victor Roldan got the Gators started quickly by leading off the first inning with a single before promptly stealing second.
He then raced home from second on a passed ball by Greg Shaw. In the second, Roldan belted a two-run home run to give Land O'Lakes a 5-0 lead.
"We had lackadaisical mental play," Hernando coach Tim Sims said.
"When the pitchers aren't throwing strikes on a consistent basis, your defense goes to sleep and they are going to kick it and throw it. And it just snowballs."
Hernando (4-2) cut the lead to 6-2 in the third on a double by Jason Dunn.
But Land O'Lakes (3-0) responded with a seven-run third as the Gators plowed through three Hernando pitchers. The Gators had 12 hits, and five players drove in two runs apiece.
The return of basketball players Jeff and Brian Baisley also provided a spark as Jeff walked three times, stole three bases and scored three runs while Brian went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and an RBI.
"We've got some guys who can swing the bat, and we're kind of getting back to full strength. So that helps," Land O'Lakes coach Cal Baisley said. "The difference today was that we made all the routine plays defensively. We didn't give them any extra outs."
Philip Whitten, who has been nursing a tender shoulder, picked up the win in his first start. Despite often working the count full, he battled out of trouble, pitching four innings, allowing five hits and striking out five. "It was a credit to (Whitten) because they've got some guys that can swing the bat," Baisley said. "He was able to shut them down."