Thunderstorms Suspend Game; Cats lead 7-5

Severe thunderstorms swept across the state Friday night, suspending the baseball game between Kentucky and Florida with the Bat Cats leading 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The game will resume on Saturday at 4 p.m. with game two of the series scheduled to follow at 6:30 p.m.

Kentucky is known for the explosive, high-powered offensive attack, but in the first inning they turned to small ball to jump ahead of the Gators 2-0.

Antone DeJesus, who appeared in his first SEC game since missing the entire series against Auburn due to shoulder soreness, got things started with a 15-pitch at bat. After falling 0-2 in the count, DeJesus fouled off 11 would-be strike threes before slicing a double down the left field line.

With the leadoff man aboard, Collin Cowgill laid down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded by Florida's starting pitcher Bryan Ball. Under the pressure to make the play, Ball overthrew first base. The error allowed DeJesus to score and Cowgill to advance to second base.

The Bat Cats then turned to designated hitter Billy Grace, who laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third base line to move Cowgill 90 feet from home. Ryan Strieby hit a line drive up the middle to plate Cowgill and give UK an early 2-0 lead.

The Gators loaded the bases with nobody out against Wildcat starter Aaron Tennyson in the second inning. Florida got one run back with a sacrifice groundout, but that was all. Tennyson clamped down and struck out the next to Gator batters to work out of the jam.

Tennyson would remain solid through six innings, but ran out of gas in the seventh. Last year's SEC Player of the Year Matt LaPorta mashed a two-run homerun that was a part of a four-run inning to chase the Wildcat starter and give Florida a 5-3 edge in the game.

Down but not out, the Bat Cats quickly rallied as dark clouds approached Cliff Hagan Stadium. With one out DeJesus ripped his second double of the night. Cowgill drove him home with a single.

With a man on, Billy Grace launched a towering blast that cleared the scoreboard in right field to knot the game at 5-5. But Kentucky wasn't done. They would score two more runs to put themselves ahead 7-5 before the lightning put a halt to the action. Monsoon-like rains pounded the field and with no end to the storm in sight, the umpires ruled to suspend play until Saturday.

Fans will need a new ticket to enter the stadium when the game resumes. That ticket will be valid for the 4 p.m. conclusion of game one and game two of the series, which is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.

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