Sophomore centerfielder Austin Cousino had three hits and drove in four runs Saturday to help lead No. 9 Kentucky to an 11-5 win over Florida and even its weekend series with the Gators.
Cousino hit his fourth home run of the season while adding a double and stolen base to his productive day.
Kentucky (15-3, 1-1 SEC) trailed 3-0 entering the sixth inning against Florida ace Jonathan Crawford, but the Wildcats plated two runs in that frame and exploded for five in the seventh to break the game open. Cousino had the go-ahead, two-run single in the decisive rally.
The Cats added four in the ninth inning, including Cousino's home run off the videoboard in rightfield.
"It is really nice to see Austin now two days into (SEC play)," UK head coach Gary Henderson said. "Really good to see him get hot again. His swings were good. His bat speed is good. He is seeing it well; laying off the bad pitches, all the things you do when it is going your way. Really glad to see him get hot."
UK senior starter Jerad Grundy (4-1) turned in his fourth quality start of the year, despite battling through the first two frames with three runs allowed on five hits.
"Some days you come out there and you really don't have your best stuff and you really have to rely on the teammates behind you and that is what I did today," Grundy said.
Grundy settled in to work six innings, allowing six hits and three runs, walking four on 82 pitches. The Johnsburg, Ill., native allowed only one two-out single after the second inning.
Kentucky sophomore Chandler Shepherd worked 1.2 innings in the seventh and eighth, allowing three hits and one run, walking one. With the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning and a 1-1 count to Mike Fahrman, UK turned to Trevor Gott, who got two strikes to escape the jam. Gott recorded the final three outs in the ninth – working around an error and a walk – striking out two for his sixth save of the year. Gott owns 17 saves in his three-year career, stretching his UK career record.
Crawford (0-3) worked six innings, allowing only three hits, surrendering five runs on four walks and two strikeouts. Florida dropped to 9-11 overall and 1-1 in SEC play.
The series will conclude at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday at McKethan Stadium, with the Wildcats looking for their first series win at Florida since 1999 and just the fourth all-time series win in Gainesville in the history of the program.
The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will send junior All-America left-hander Corey Littrell (2-0, 3.22 ERA) to the mound to face Florida freshman righty Eric Handhold (0-1, 6.39 ERA).
Cousino helps Cats even series with Gators
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