The Gators had overcome a 6-0 deficit and taken a 7-6 lead in the seventh on a two-run homer by sophomore Matt den Dekker before the Wildcats erupted for five runs on four hits and a crucial UF error against junior Stephen Locke (2-2) to capture game one of the series.
Senior Andrew Albers (6-1) threw four innings out of the bullpen to earn
the win, while senior Sawyer Carroll (3-for-4) drove in a career-high
five RBI. Returning to action for the first time since rupturing his
anterior cruciate ligament on April 2, senior Brandon McArthur went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs for UF.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a three-run
homer by Carroll. Sophomore Keenan Wiley had led off with a single into
right field off sophomore Billy Bullock and moved to second
on a wild pitch before junior Collin Cowgill drew a walk. Carroll then
blasted his 12th round-tripper deep to right field to open the scoring.
The Gators loaded the bases with one out in the second against junior
left-hander Chris Rusin, as senior Dustin Bamberg,
den Dekker and McArthur each singled. Rusin rebounded to strike out
sophomore Jonathan Pigott and had sophomore Buddy
Munroe ground out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the frame, UK tacked on a sacrifice fly by Carroll for
a 4-0 margin. Sophomore Marcus Nidiffer walked to begin the stanza and
freshman Chris Bisson reached on a throwing error by senior third
baseman Jon Townsend. A sac bunt by Wiley moved his
teammates into scoring position, Cowgill earned a free pass to load the
sacks and Carroll lofted a fly ball into left that scored Nidiffer.
Another sac fly in the third by Nidiffer put the Wildcats ahead, 5-0.
Senior Ryan Wilkes started things off with a single through the left
side and senior Tyler Howe doubled into the right-field corner. Bullock
had freshman Chris Wade fly out to left and Nidiffer followed with his
fourth sac fly to bring across Wilkes.
UF loaded the bases again in the fourth, courtesy of a leadoff base-hit
by Bamberg, McArthur's second single of the game and a hit by pitch to
Pigott. However, Rusin induced an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play on a
grounder from sophomore pinch hitter Hampton Tignor to
keep the Gators off the board.
A wild pitch from Bullock with two down in the fifth enabled Cowgill to
score the hosts' sixth run. Cowgill was plunked with one out, stole
second and advanced to third on a grounder by Carroll.
Florida countered with five runs on four hits in the fifth to close the
gap to 6-5. Junior Avery Barnes legged out an
infield hit, went to second on an errant pickoff throw by Rusin and
scored on a base-knock into right by Townsend. Figueroa followed with a
bunt single and freshman Josh Adams drew a walk to
load the sacks. After Bamberg lined out to third, den Dekker was hit by
a pitch to plate Townsend. McArthur delivered a two-run single into
right center for a 6-4 score and chased Rusin (4.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R) from
the game. Sophomore Clayton Pisani greeted senior
reliever Brock Baber with a sac fly to dead center to reduce UF's
deficit to a run.
After issuing a leadoff walk to Howe in the fifth, Bullock (4.0 IP, 5 H,
6 R, 5 BB) was replaced by sophomore Clint Franklin.
Wade laid down a bunt to move his teammate into scoring position and the
right-hander set down the next two batters.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Cowgill and Carroll in the six Franklin's time on the hill. Over 1.1 innings, the righty allowed two
hits but kept the Wildcats scoreless. On his initial pitch, sophomore
Tony Davis had Spear ground into a 5-4-3 double play
that ended the frame.
The Gators used a two-run homer by den Dekker off Albers to grab a 7-6
lead in the seventh. Bamberg had reached on a one-out fielding error by
Bisson and den Dekker deposited his sixth dinger of the year over the
wall in right center. Kentucky tried to answer in the home part of the
inning, when Wilkes led off with a base-hit into right and moved to
second on a bunt by Howe. Senior Josh Edmondson replaced
Davis and battled back from a 3-0 count to fan Wade and had Nidiffer pop
Kentucky exploded for five runs on four hits and a damaging error in the
eighth with Locke pitching to secure the victory. After the southpaw
yielded consecutive one-out singles to Wiley and Cowgill, Carroll bashed
a double off the wall in center for his fifth RBI to tie the game. Spear
was walked intentionally to load the bases and Townsend misplayed Wilkes'
potential double play grounder that allowed UK to reclaim the lead. Howe
notched an RBI grounder for a 9-7 UK advantage and Wade stroked a
two-run single up the middle to finalize the 11-7 margin.
Helped by their late outburst, the Wildcats had a 12-11 advantage in
hits. Carroll and Wilkes tallied three hits apiece, while Cowgill and
Wiley chipped in with two apiece. Besides McArthur, Bamberg, den Dekker
and Townsend registered multi-hit outings for the Orange and Blue.
Florida will send junior righty Patrick Keating (6-0,
2.45) to the mound Saturday at 7 p.m. against sophomore left-hander
James Paxton (3-1, 2.76).
Courtesy UF Sports Information
Uf Drops Opener in Lexington
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