It felt just like Thursday’s series opening loss for the Florida Gators. The same refrain continued: get down early, battle back, make mistakes that allow the opposition to retake the lead.
Unlike Thursday, after an error led to a Kentucky run in the eighth, Florida bounced back and scored four runs in the ninth to claim an 8-5 win with a chance to win the series on Saturday.
But it almost wasn’t so. In fact, Florida was down to their last strike in the ninth. Moreso, that strike likely happened, but the inconsistency behind the plate called it a ball and set up the late inning heroics from Cory Acton.
How It Happened:
Cam Hill got the scoring started in the second inning with a two run single to right to give the Wildcats the early advantage.
Then the pouring rain started to come down in buckets. That didn’t stop Florida CF Jud Fabian from connecting on a two-run homer to center.
Two innings later, Fabian unloaded again. This time, sending a no-doubt, solo shot to left, putting the Gators up 3-2.
As Florida has done all too often this year, they allowed Kentucky to strike for the rebound runs thanks to a pair of RBI singles by Austin Schultz and John Rhodes.
The Gators would tie it up in the eighth when pinch hitter Kendrick Calilao singled to right to score Jordan Carrion from second. And things were even once again.
Trey Van Der Weide took the mound in relief of Tommy Mace and promptly allowed a single. The runner then moved to second on a called balk (still didn’t see it). After a groundout, Ryan Ritter reached on an error by Carrion and the Wildcats were in business with runners on the corners and one out. Ritter stole second and Christian Scott hit Zeke Lewis with a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. A big hop off the turf resulted in a tough play that resulted in a fielder’s choice and the lead run to score.
In the ninth, Young led off with a walk. Hockey and Fabian both went down relatively quickly. A single by Kris Armstrong kept the Florida hopes alive and put runners on first and second. Acton came on to pinch hit for Carrion and responded with a single to center scoring Young to tie the game. Calilao followed with a crushed three-run blast to left to seal the fate.
After Jack Leftwich closed out the win with a strikeout, there was a lot of talk coming from both sides.
W: Christian Scott (3-3)
L: Austin Strickland (1-1)
S: Jack Leftwich (3)
- Calilao: 2-2, HR, 4 RBI, R
- Fabian: 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB
- Butler: 2-5, 2B
- McMullen: 2-4, 2B
Florida will complete the series with Kentucky with a getaway day contest scheduled for 2:00 PM.