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10/23/08 9:18 PM EST

Game 1 a dream for Phils fan at Trop

Gvozdenovich wins tickets to World Series, catches Utley's homer

ST. PETERSBURG -- It is somewhat common for fans of opposing teams to use the World Series as an excuse for a road trip and travel to the city where their team is playing. Typically, at any given game, a couple of hundred fans of the enemy can be spotted in the stands.

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But 18-year-old Sam Gvozdenovich didn't have to travel all the way from the Northeast to watch his favorite team represent the National League in the Fall Classic on Wednesday night.

Gvozdenovich, a student at the University of Central Florida and a diehard Phillies fan, needed to journey only a short distance to Tropicana Field -- and little did he know what a night it would be.

While the majority of the Trop fell silent when Chase Utley deposited a two-run homer into the right-field seats in the first inning of Game 1, Gvozdenovich, a native of south New Jersey, found himself in one of those priceless right-place-at-right-time situations.

Gvozdenovich, who won a raffle offered by MLB.com to purchase a single World Series ticket, nabbed the home run ball, and, ignoring chants from Rays fans to throw it back onto the field, instead put the ball in his pocket.

"There's no way anyone could get me to get rid of this ball," Gvozdenovich told The St. Petersburg Times.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.