Gators Outlast Kentucky

Junior right-hander Patrick Keating improved to 7-0 as No. 24 Florida evened its weekend series with No. 17 Kentucky by notching a 13-7 victory on Saturday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The contest lasted four hours and 20 minutes and featured nine pitchers, 25 hits, 20 runs and seven errors.

Junior Avery Barnes went 5-for-6 with three RBI and three runs and sophomore Hampton Tignor was 3-for-5 with a solo homer to help the Gators (25-14/10-7 SEC) end a three-game losing streak. The defeat was just the second at home for the Wildcats (29-9/8-9 SEC) this season.

Senior Jon Townsend delivered a two-run, bases-loaded single with two down in the first off sophomore James Paxton (3-2) to give the Gators a quick lead. Sophomore Cole Figueroa singled up the middle and freshman Josh Adams followed with a walk. After senior Dustin Bamberg flew out to right, pushing Figueroa to third, Adams stole his eighth base for two men in scoring position. Senior Brandon McArthur was hit by a pitch to fill the bags and Townsend roped Paxton's initial offering into center field to break the ice.

The Wildcats answered in the bottom of the inning on a two-out RBI double by senior Brian Spear that scored junior Collin Cowgill. Cowgill had doubled off Keating and came home on the two-bagger off the wall in right center.

Tignor led off the second with his second homer of the season to left field. Barnes then punched a single through the left side and sophomore Matt den Dekker was hit by a pitch. A fielder's choice by Figueroa forced the runner at second and Adams walked to load the bases and end the night for Paxton (1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R). Bamberg greeted senior Aaron Lovett with a sac fly to right for a 4-1 UF advantage.

The Gators broke the game open in the fifth with three runs on three walks and two hits to take a 7-1 lead. Back-to-back walks to Townsend and sophomore Clayton Pisani prompted another pitching change. Tignor's single into left off sophomore Clint Tilford loaded the bases and Barnes rifled a base-hit up the middle to plate Townsend. Senior Tommy Warner came out of the bullpen and walked den Dekker, enabling Pisani to score, and the righty had Figueroa ground into a 6-4-3 double play that brought in Tignor with the seventh run.

Kentucky countered with a pair of two-out runs in the home part of the fifth to close within 7-3. Keating retired the first two batters before sophomore Keenan Wiley stroked a hit up the middle and Cowgill was plunked. Carroll had an RBI single to left and Spear delivered a base-knock into left center to narrow the Wildcats' deficit to four runs.

UF expanded its lead to 9-3 in the seventh when freshman third baseman Chris Bisson misplayed McArthur's two-out ground ball with the bases loaded. Barnes had led off with a single and stole second base before Adams was walked intentionally with two out. Sophomore Jonathan Pigott was hit to load the bases and McArthur sent a ball up the third-base line that went through Bisson's legs to score both Barnes and Adams.

Keating departed after six innings in which he surrendered nine hits and three runs, with four strikeouts and a walk. Kentucky took advantage of the departure by tallying four runs on four hits and two errors for a 9-7 deficit. Cowgill drew a leadoff walk from sophomore Tony Davis and moved to third on Carroll's base-hit. The southpaw fanned Spear but then Pisani botched Wilkes' grounder, enabling Cowgill to come in. After Davis beaned senior Tyler Howe, O'Sullivan made the call to the bullpen for sophomore Kyle Mullaney with the sacks full. Freshman Chris Wade punched an RBI single into center field for a 9-5 count and a fielder's choice by freshman Bryan Rose allowed Wilkes to come in. Kentucky scored again during Rose's stolen base, when Tignor's relay throw bounced off the base-runner and Howe raced home to trim UF's lead to 9-7.

In the eighth, Pisani reached on an error and was sacrificed to second by Tignor before Barnes collected his fourth hit with a drag bunt up the first-base line. With runners on the corners, den Dekker lofted a sac fly to left for a 10-7 Gator advantage. UK misplayed Adams' two-out infield fly and Barnes scored for a four-run lead. Barnes later closed the scoring barrage in the ninth with a two-run triple that drove in freshman pinch runner Chris Freshcorn and Pisani.

Florida held a 14-11 edge in hits, with its bottom two hitters in the lineup, Barnes and Tignor, a combined 8-for-11 with five runs and four RBI. Carroll was 3-for-5 to pace UK's offense.

Junior left-hander Stephen Locke (2-2, 3.57) will start Sunday's finale at 1 p.m. against Wildcat senior righty Greg Dombrowski (4-0, 3.32). The game will air live on Cox Sports.

Courtesy UF Sports Information

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