The No. 1 Gators grabbed the weekend series opener from Kentucky by double digits Friday night. Florida extended their winning streak to 17 games and breaks Kentucky’s three game winning streak in the process. Starting pitcher Logan Shore got the win for the Gators and is 5-0 on the season while Zach Brown takes the loss for Kentucky.
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The first and second innings were quiet for the two teams until the wildcats Tristan Pompey hit a RBI single to put Kentucky in the lead 1-0 in the bottom of the second.
Nelson Maldonado would pop things off for Florida in the top of the third with the first of his two home runs in the weekend series opener. Jonathan India would follow making it to home on Buddy Reed’s single up the middle. J.J. Schwartz’s RBI grounder would advance Dalton Guthrie to home giving the Gators a 3-1 advantage.
Scoring would continue in the top of the fourth with Maldonado’s second homer on the night bringing in Jeremy Vasquez for a 5-1 lead.
Errors (One on a fielding error and one on a wild pitch) would get the best of the Wildcats in the top of the sixth allowing Florida two on the board pushing the Gators lead to seven.
Things started to get shaky for starting pitcher Logan Shore in the bottom of the sixth when he allowed a two-run single by McNeil while the bases were loaded. Shore had six strikeouts and in the bottom of the fifth retired 10 straight batters. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan believes Shore had a good first five innings and was a hard night to hit for both teams.
Left-hand pitcher Kirby Snead relieved shore with two on base and no outs. Snead was able to get out of the inning with two strikeouts and a run, inching the Wildcats closer to the Gators 7-4.
Dane Dunning relieved Snead in the seventh getting a quick and very important 1-2-3 inning and Coach O’Sullivan believes he is a huge asset to the team.
The Gators would extend their lead over Kentucky in the ninth. First, a RBI single bringing Deacon Liput home after he had stolen second base and Mike Rivera was hit by pitch. India then clears the bases with a three RBI hit hit pushing the Gators lead to 11-4. The Gators would also capitalize on a fielding error when India came home putting another run on the board for Florida.
Freshmen Michel Byrne would relieve Dunning in the bottom of the ninth. Kentucky’s Evan White doubles to left-center advancing Connor Heady home giving the Wildcats five runs on the night. But that would be the end of scoring and the end of the weekend series opener as Byrne end the inning with a strikeout.
Up next the Gators prepare for game two of the weekend series in Lexington. Hear live coverage of the game on 103.7 The Gator starting at 1:55 p.m.