Florida punishes Kentucky to win baseball series

Special to Gatorsports.com
Florida pitcher Hunter Barco struck out 10 Kentucky batters Saturday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Florida rode the momentum from Friday night's dramatic win by pounding Kentucky for a 9-2 win that clinched the baseball series Saturday.

The No. 10 Gators (33-14, 15-9 SEC) jumped on the Wildcats (27-17, 11-13) from the start and cruised to their second consecutive road series win. 

Unlike in Thursday's 7-5 loss and Friday's 8-5 win, the Gators scored first after a triple by Nathan Hickey and a sacrifice fly by Jud Fabian in the first inning.

The Gators made it 2-0 with a run in the second. Jacob Young's single drove in Kendrick Calilao, who had singled earlier in the inning.

Florida made it 3-0 in the third when Calilao's single drove in Kris Armstrong, who had walked earlier in the inning.

The lead became 4-0 in the fifth on Young's sacrifice fly.

Armstrong's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning drove in Young, who led off the inning with a double for a 5-0 UF lead.

Christian Scott relieved UF starter Hunter Barco (8-2) in the seventh. Barco struck out 10 and allowed only two hits in 6.2 innings.

"Really pleased with his outing, obviously, and we needed that against a really good offensive Kentucky team," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "I thought Christian Scott came in and did a real nice job again. Even though he gave up a couple home runs today, I think between last night and tonight he’s starting to get back on track. And what can you say about Jack Leftwich? He pitched three days in a row and has really kind of solidified himself at the end of ballgames.”

Kentucky trimmed the Florida lead to 5-2 with back-to-back home runs from Coltyn Kessler and Oraj Anu after two outs in the eighth. After a walk, Jack Leftwich came in to pitch for the third consecutive day and shut the door on the Wildcats to pick up his second save of the weekend and fourth of the season.

Florida put the game away with four runs in the ninth on a two-run single by Young and a two-run double by Hickey. On the day, Young drove in four runs on four hits.

Florida travels to Stetson for a Tuesday 6:30 p.m. contest before wrapping up its regular season home slate with a three-game series against Georgia on Friday-Sunday.

Notes: Barco matched his career high with the 10 Ks, set vs. Samford on Feb. 28. The left-hander allowed no runs and two hits in 6.2 innings. … Young had his second career four-hit game, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs. Young also went 4-for-5 on Feb. 28 vs. Samford. … Over a five-inning span beginning with Friday’s eighth and through Saturday’s third, Calilao went 4-for-4 with five RBIs. With a walk in his next appearance, Calilao reached base on his first five plate appearances this weekend.