Gators drop opener to Wildcats in SEC tournament
Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 8:54 p.m.
HOOVER, Ala. — Top-seeded Florida fell behind early and couldn't recover Wednesday in a 4-2 loss to No. 9 seed Kentucky in the second round of the SEC baseball tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The Gators (37-20), who received the regular-season SEC championship trophy earlier in the day, will play in an elimination game Thursday against South Carolina, which lost 12-0 to Mississippi State on Wednesday night. That game will follow the other loser's bracket contest between Vanderbilt and Ole Miss that is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Kentucky (33-22), which will play MSU on Thursday night, scored four runs in the first three innings off UF freshman ace Logan Shore (7-3), including a two-run home run by third baseman Max Kuhn in the third inning.
“There are always going to be calls where I thought they should have gone my way, but they didn't,” Shore said. “Those are some of the things you have to battle through. I settled down in the second, third, fourth and fifth inning. Credit Kentucky. They can really swing the bat.”
The Gators couldn't find many answers against Kentucky starting pitcher Kyle Cody (4-0) and reliever Chandler Shepherd, as they managed only six hits.
“Obviously Kentucky got off to a great start scoring two in the first and two in the third,” UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “Bottom line was we didn't hit well enough. Credit Kentucky's pitchers.”
The Wildcats are 3-1 against the Gators, ranked No. 7 in the nation by Baseball America, this season.
“Beyond the fact that was a really good win for our kids, I was proud of their effort,” Kentucky coach Gary Henderson said. “I was really, really pleased with Kyle Cody. He's back to doing what we thought he was going to do at the beginning of the year. I think it was a shot of adrenaline for the kids.”
Earlier in the day, LSU defeated Vanderbilt 11-1 in seven innings and Arkansas topped second-seeded Ole Miss 2-1.
Notes: The 16 sites for NCAA Regionals will be announced at 9 p.m. Sunday, while the 64-team field for the NCAA tournament will be revealed live on ESPNU at noon Monday. … Florida, which has the No. 2 RPI in the nation according to the NCAA and Warren Nolan rates the Gators' strength of schedule No. 1, is expected to be a regional host. … UF is 55-57 all-time in the league tournament.
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