The No. 20 Florida Gator Baseball team fell to the No.19 Kentucky Wildcats Friday night, 17-1, in Lexington in Game 1 of a three-game series.
Gator starter Eric Handhold allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in three innings of work. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan turned to freshman right-handers Dane Dunning and Frank Rubio for the remainder of the game. When Rubio entered the game in the fifth, he was able to relieve the bullpen with four strong innings of work.
The Wildcats scored in only four innings, but when they did they scored a lot and off long ball. Kentucky put their first four runs on the board in the bottom of the second inning, including a three run home run by Max Kuhn. Their next four runs would score courtesy of a grand slam homer in the third inning by outfielder Austin Cousino. The Wildcats scored four more runs in the fourth and their last five in the fifth, with the help of a three run homer by catcher Michael Thomas.
Florida’s only run came in the ninth inning. Zack Powers reached base after being hit by a pitch, followed by a single from Peter Alonso. Buddy Reed then ripped a double down the left field line to plate Powers. Designated hitter Alonso led Florida offensively with three hits in four at bats.
O’Sullivan says that the team needs to look past this loss and focus on the next game.
“We got off to a tough start and they put a bunch of crooked numbers on us, for four innings in a row. It was just uncharacteristic of us. We’ve been pitching really well this year and it was just unfortunate. The good thing is that it is one loss. The most important thing is that we can’t have this affect us tomorrow. They’ve got to flush this one tonight. Obviously, everyone is disappointed. It is a tough loss, but it is what it is. We’ve got to regroup and be ready to come out and play tomorrow,” O’Sullivan said.
The Orange and Blue will look to right-hander Logan Shore (2-1, 1.35) for a win Saturday; you can hear the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 12:55pm.
To hear audio from O’Sullivan click below: