Kentucky gets series win despite late Gator rally
Published: Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 5:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 5:19 p.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 13 Florida made it interesting late, but No. 22 Kentucky held on for a 9-8 SEC baseball win Sunday.
No. 13 Florida (20-12, 7-5 SEC) at No. 1 Florida State (24-5, 11-2 ACC) at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
WHEN: Tuesday at 6 p.m.
ONLINE STREAM: ESPN3
The Gators (20-12, 7-5 SEC) scored five runs, highlighted by designated hitter Peter Alonso's three-run home run, in the eighth inning, but could not add another run after getting the tying runner on base in the ninth to lose the series 2-1 to the Wildcats (22-10, 6-6).
“I'm really pleased with how we battled back,” UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “We made it an interesting game there. The only thing you can do is try to get the tying run to the plate.
“We had the winning run at the plate with Gushue, the guy you probably want in that situation. From that point of view, it was a really good comeback. When you're down 9-3, all you can ask from your team is to keep battling and keep plugging along.”
Kentucky relied on the big inning all series, and the finale was no different. The Wildcats put seven on the board in the sixth inning and were able to hold off the late Gator charge.
After four SEC series, the Gators are tied with South Carolina in first place in the Eastern division. UF will travel to Tallahassee on Tuesday to take on Florida State before beginning a three-game series with the Gamecocks in Columbia on Friday.
Kentucky struck first with a run in the second off of three consecutive singles. The Gators responded with a pair in the third. Third baseman John Sternagel kept the inning alive with a single and second baseman Casey Turgeon reached on an error. Shortstop Richie Martin delivered the big hit with a 2-RBI double to center.
UK answered in the bottom half with a solo shot off the bat of A.J. Reed, his third of the series. Martin gave the Gators the lead in the fifth with a run-scoring single.
The Wildcats tied the game with an RBI single in the sixth, and took the 6-3 lead on a three-run home run by Max Kuhn and added three more runs for a 9-3 lead after six innings.
Florida led off the eighth with three straight singles from Martin, center fielder Harrison Bader and catcher Taylor Gushue. Gushue's single to right scored Martin, giving Gushue a team leading 28 RBIs. Right fielder Braden Mattson added an RBI sac fly to cut UK's lead to 9-5.
Alonso's three-run home run brought the Gators within one at 9-8.
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