Photo by James Gilbert | Getty Images

With one series remaining before post-season play begins, the Gators baseball team traveled to Lexington, KY looking to keep the momentum built off last weekend’s sweep of Vanderbilt.

Thanks to the top half of the Florida batting order, the Gators set the tone and blasted the Wildcats 10-3 to open the three game set.

Florida was led by their one through five guys in the order, who combined for eleven hits and nine RBI.

Additionally, starting pitcher Hurston Waldrep picked up a quality start with six innings and there runs allowed (two earned) to improve his 2023 record to 7-3. Ryan Slater closed out the victory with his third save of the year.

How It Happened:

The Gators got the scoring started early as Cade Kurland led off the game with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. Wyatt Langford followed with a double to the gap in right-center to score the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week. Sophomore Jac Caglianone singled up the middle to score Langford and the Gators jumped out to a 2-0 advantage.

The Wildcats struck for a run in the third, but it very easily could have turned into more. Leadoff hitter C. Stanke reached on a Hurston Waldrep error and moved to third after a pair of hit batters that loaded the bases. A single by E. Pitre plated the first Kentucky run.

An inning later, Kentucky evened the score on a leadoff double and a sacrifice fly.

The ensuing response by the Gators was brought on by the continued production of the top of the lineup. In the sixth inning, Florida added five runs to the scoreboard highlighted by RBI doubles by Langford and BT Riopelle.

Despite getting a solo homer in the home half of the frame, the Wildcats bid at a comeback wasn’t in the works. Florida once again responded in the top of the seventh with three runs. Riopelle’s two run single to center put the finishing touches on the final score of 10-3 to give the Gators an important series opening win.

Quick Stats:

  • Gators: 4-9 to leadoff innings
  • Gators: 4-11 with two outs
  • Langford: 3-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Kurland: 3-4, 2 2B, BB, 2 R
  • Rivera: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 2 R
  • Riopelle: 2-4, 2B, 4 RBI, BB, R
  • Waldrep: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 K, 2 BB

SEC Regular Season Title Race:

  • LSU 8, UGA 5
  • ARK 8, Vandy 2

On Deck:

Florida and Kentucky will continue their final series of the season Friday at 6:30 PM from Kentucky Proud Park. RHP Brandon Sproat (7-4, 4.44 ERA) will take the mound for the Gators while Kentucky will counter with RHP Zack Lee (4-2, 3.42 ERA).

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