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Extra-inning magic wears off for Gators

By WAYNE GRUMET

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 8, 2001


DADE CITY -- Land O'Lakes' week got a little longer.

It already had fought for two wins in 23 innings. Wednesday, Pasco stretched Land O'Lakes into extra innings once more. But this time, Land O'Lakes didn't have enough as Nate Strayer's single in the eighth gave the Pirates a 3-2 win.

Pasco (5-5) missed an opportunity to win it in the seventh when it loaded the bases with no outs. But in the eighth, Strayer fought off a fastball with two strikes to lace a two-out single to rightfield, scoring Matt Prowant.

"I just wanted to put the ball in play and make them make a play," said Strayer, a junior. "I just wanted to make contact and give my team a chance."

Land O'Lakes (6-2) had its share of missed opportunities. Second baseman Greg Rosenthal tried to score from second on a first-inning single by pitcher Rich Neste. But centerfielder Orlando Rosales' throw beat Rosenthal by more than 10 feet. Rosales nailed Rosenthal by about the same margin in the seventh after a Jeff Baisley single.

"We've kind of been like a cat with nine lives, and we ran out of lives," Land O'Lakes coach Calvin Baisley said. "We've been on a pretty good string here, but I just thought for whatever reason we were flat there today for five innings."

Pasco scored quickly off Neste. Lee Cruz hit a home run in the first with Rosales on base. Pasco starter Trey Evans held that lead through five innings.

Evans walked Jeff Baisley and hit Brian Baisley to start the sixth. Jeff Baisley scored on a Neste single, and Brian Baisley scored on a fielders choice by Brandon Vari.

Pasco coach Ricky Giles said he was thrilled to see his team open a six-game home stand with an emotional win.

"Hopefully, we can use this right here to boost our morale a little bit," Giles said. "I think this right here might get us over the hump."

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