Hoover, AL- Florida pulled out an important win to open the SEC Tournament behind a gutsy effort from starter Tommy Mace. The Gators defeated Kentucky 4-1 and likely ended the Wildcats’ season in the process.
How It Happened:
Florida ran into trouble early as a hit by pitch and a double put the first two batters of the game in scoring position for Kentucky. But Mace bounced back by striking out each of the next three to get out of the inning unscathed.
Jacob Young capitalized on the momentum by swinging first pitch and lining a shot over the fence in left to put the Gators ahead 1-0. Sterlin Thompson added an RBI single that plated Nathan Hickey to put Florida on top 2-0.
*Hickey only reached base on a walk because a routine pop up to left was dropped by UK in foul territory to continue the at-bat.
Armed with a 2-0 lead, Mace began dealing, only running into real trouble in the fifth, his final inning of work. The Wildcats did finally get into the run column in the frame as an RBI double by John Rhodes cut the deficit in half.
Note: Mace tossed 104 pitches just five days prior in Fayetteville against Arkansas.
But Florida responded in the bottom of the fifth. Cory Acton’s RBI single plated Kendrick Calilao and Mac Guscette reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Thompson.Trey Van Der Weide opened the fifth inning and tossed 2.2 innings in relief while Jack Leftwich closed it out, recording his fifth save of the season.
- W: Tommy Mace (6-1)
- L: Sean Harney (3-2)
- S: Jack Leftwich (5)
- Young: 2-4, HR, RBI, R, BB
- Acton: 2-4, RBI
- Mace: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 8 K, BB
- UF Bullpen: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 K, BB
Florida will take on Mississippi State at 10:30 AM on Wednesday as the SEC Tournament has reached the double-elimination point of the bracket.
The Bulldogs are 40-13 overall and are ranked No. 8 in the nation.