What looked like a terrific start to the weekend quickly turned sour as UK Baseball surrendered four ninth-inning runs to drop game two of the series against no. 10 Florida, 8-5.
F | No. 8 Florida 8, Kentucky 5
Tomorrow should be interesting. #BBN, we need you at KPP.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 8, 2021
After winning Thursday night’s opener 7-5, things were looking good for Kentucky — even more so after they built leads at three different points in tonight’s game. But after a late-inning collapse, the series win will be determined on Saturday’s rubber match.
UK got the scoring started in the second on a two-RBI single from Cam Hill, but the Gators struck back with a two-run bomb in the third from Jud Fabian. However, the ‘Cats struck back quickly thanks to three clutch hits and a walk, with RBIs coming from Austin Schultz and John Rhodes to regain the lead at 4-3.
It stayed that way until the 8th inning, when Florida broke through on a hit from Kendrick Calileo. Thankfully, the ‘Cats responded with a bases-loaded groundout that scored Kirk Liebert. It stayed that way until the fateful ninth inning.
The trouble started with a walk and two singles and ended with a three-run bomb off the bat of Calileo, plus an RBI knock from Cory Acton that made it 8-5 before the ‘Cats could catch their breath. That would make for the final score as well, as UK only mustered one base runner in the final frame.
UK starter Sean Harney finished with a no-decision after throwing five innings of six-hit, three-run ball–the two Fabian homers the only damage he sustained. Florida got seven innings out of junior Tommy Mace, who gave up four runs but struck out nine in the win.
Hill led the way offensively for Kentucky with his two hits and three RBIs, while T.J. Collett contributed two hits and two walks of his own.
The loss went to Austin Strickland, who pitched a scoreless eighth but was tagged for all four runs in the ninth. Christian Scott got the win for Florida with Jack Leftwich picking up the save.
UK fell to 27-16 on the season (11-12 SEC) with the loss, while UF improved to 32-14 (14-9). Saturday’s decisive game three starts at 2 p.m. at Kentucky Proud Park, with Zack Lee taking the mound for the ‘Cats.