The senior right-hander didn't have his best stuff, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks over 5.2 innings, but the workmanlike effort was enough to hold the Gators in check while the UK offense came through with a strong performance against Florida standout A.J. Puk.
Sophomore first baseman Evan White went 3-for-3, including a home run that staked Kentucky to a 1-0 lead. Dorian Hairston clubbed a three-run homer and Gunnar McNeill had a two-run double as UK got to the hard-throwing Puk for six earned runs on four hits and two walks through 4.1 innings.
Puk (1-2), a member of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and regarded as a potential No. 1 pick in this year's MLB Draft, entered the game with a 1.88 ERA.
Kentucky (16-6, 3-2 SEC) got 3.1 innings of shutout relief work from freshman Justin Lewis, who picked up his fourth save. The 6-foot-6 right-hander from Georgia has been sensational, carrying a 0.50 ERA and allowing only seven hits through his first 18 innings on the mound.
It marked only the second loss of the season for Florida (23-2, 4-1 SEC), which was riding a 17-game winning streak. The Gators won Friday's series opener 12-5.
The rubber match will be played at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday at Cliff Hagan Stadium with UK's Kyle Cody (2-1, 6.95 ERA) scheduled to face Florida's Alex Faedo (5-0, 2.61 ERA). The Cats are seeking a series win over the No. 1 ranked team in the country for the third consecutive year. UK won a series over top-ranked South Carolina in 2014 and a series over top-ranked LSU in 2015.