Land O'Lakes scores 12 of its 19 runs with two outs to defeat Zephyrhills.
By WAYNE GRUMET
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2001
LAND O'LAKES -- Land O'Lakes took advantage of a favorable wind and several Zephyrhills miscues on Wednesday to roll to a 19-7 five-inning win.
After retiring the first two batters in the bottom of the first inning, Bulldogs starting pitcher Chris Griffin saw his 1-0 lead disappear quickly.
With two outs, Gators catcher Brian Baisley started a nine-run rally with a single to left. Victor Roldan followed with a hard grounder to Bulldogs shortstop Danny Wardell. Wardell couldn't make the play and kept the inning alive for Rich Neste, who promptly doubled to right to score two runs.
Griffin had another opportunity to get out of the inning, but Bradley Howard misplayed a fly ball by Travis Lomadu.
Host Land O'Lakes (14-2) didn't need any more help after Jeff Baisley capped the outburst with a grand slam in his second at-bat of the inning. "They didn't make the routine plays so we capitalized on their mistakes," Jeff Baisley said. "They could have had us out of there with no runs."
Jeff Baisley and the Gators also took advantage of a strong wind. Baisley's grand slam accounted for four of his eight RBI in three innings. Lomadu and Brandon Vari also homered for the Gators.
"It was like the wind blowing out of Wrigley Field," Land O'Lakes coach Cal Baisley said. "When the wind blows out it's home run derby."
Land O'Lakes scored all 19 of its runs in the first three innings on 16 hits. The Gators also scored a total of 12 runs with two outs.
Zephyrhills (7-10) did its part to keep the Gators' offense humming, committing five errors in the first two innings as the Gators scored 13 runs. Land O'Lakes starter Phillip Whitten improved to 4-0 with a solid outing, allowing three runs with two coming via wild pitches.
Zephyrhills got most of its offense from Wardell. The senior slugger, who was hitting leadoff, hit a solo home run and scored three runs.
"You can't give them four or five outs an inning," Zephyrhills coach Bruce Cimorelli said. "We had to play a perfect ballgame to play with those guys and we didn't come ready to play.
"The kids were playing hard, they just didn't make the plays."