BASEBALL: Gators Give McMahon Win #500

Florida Coach Pat McMahon picked up his 500th career victory as a pair of Eastern Division rivals put the finishing touches on a suspended game Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Just as the Gators rallied to take the lead Friday night before rain suspended the SEC contest, the Gators scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to eke out a 10-9 win over Kentucky.

With the win, the Gators (21-7, 4-3) moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC East. However, that may be temporary, as Mississippi State and Tennessee had their Friday and Saturday afternoon contests cancelled due to bad weather. Ole Miss beat Vanderbilt 6-2 Friday to give Florida a one game lead over the 'Dores. Kentucky (14-10, 0-6) remains winless in conference play.

When play resumed Saturday, Florida had a 5-4 lead over Kentucky. The Gators wasted little time getting things going. In the bottom of the sixth, Jeff Corsaletti and Gavin Dickey hit back-to-back singles. Matt LaPorta followed by ripping a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence to extend the Gators to 8-4.

The Wildcats scored a run in the seventh after Antone DeJesus led off the inning with his second triple of the contest. He scored on John Shelby's single to right.

Fireworks erupted with the Gators in command 8-5. Florida pitchers Connor Falkenbach, Darren O'Day and Stephen Porter also struggled with umpire Jack Cox's strike zone, which was about the size of a Rubik's Cube (the teams combined for 14 walks). Florida pitching gave up four walks and three hits as the Wildcats scored four runs in the inning to take a 9-8 lead.

Shortstop Justin Tordi quickly changed all of that though. Tordi ripped a 2-0 pitch by Kentucky closer Brock Baber over the left field fence to tie things up. Designated hitter Jared Kubin drew a critical walk on four consecutive pitches with only one out. Chris Woods came on to pinch run for Kubin and quickly moved to second on Brandon McArthur's single to left field. McArthur went 3-5 on the day. Corsaletti's fielder's choice sent Woods to third. Woods scored the game winning run on reliever Adam Revelette's wild pitch.

Friday night, the Wildcats had little trouble getting to Florida starter Bryan Ball (5-1), who had been simply outstanding prior to this outing. Ball and Kentucky starter Scott Green had trouble adjusting to the strike zone of an umpire who kept changing the dimensions. Ball walked three batters, a new high for the season.

The 'Cats jumped on Ball for two runs in the first inning. Kentucky leadoff hitter J.B Schmidt walked. He scored on a triple by center fielder Antone DeJesus. Right fielder Shaun Lehmann scored DeJesus on a grounder. Despite giving up another walk and a double, Ball settled down to strike out left fielder Colvin Cowgill, who he struck out three times in the game.

Kentucky scored again in the third. DeJesus singled to start the inning and moved to second as Kevin Caldwell walked. Second baseman John Shelby singled home DeJesus, giving the 'Cats a 3-0 lead.

Florida scored twice in the bottom of the third. Gavin Dickey was hit by a pitch and moved to third on Adam Davis' single. Dickey scored on Brian LeClerc's ground out. Davis moved to third on Justin Tordi's single to center, and scored as the center fielder's throwing error.

Kentucky's J.P. Lowen ripped a home run in the top of the fourth off of Ball. It was the fourth home run given up by Ball this season. The 'Cats led 4-2.

The Gators rallied to score three times in the bottom half of the inning, and take the lead. Corsaletti walked with one out and Dickey singled. Corso scored on Davis' double. Dickey then scored on Matt LaPorta's fly ball to center. Davis gave the Gators the lead when he scored on LeClerc's single to give Florida its first lead of the game, 5-4.

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