Photo by Anissa Dimilta

Gators Take Baseball Series at Kentucky

The Florida baseball team earned a series clinching win on Saturday afternoon in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday afternoon with a 9-2 victory. Lefty Hunter Barco kept the Cats at bay, not allowing a hit until the fourth inning and clinched the series for the Gators for the second week in a row. With this series in hand, the 10th ranked Gators sit two games behind Tennessee for first place in the SEC East.

At The Plate

Florida plated a run in each of the first three innings. An early first-inning triple from designated hitter Nathan Hickey got things started and he scored on a sacrifice fly from centerfielder Jud Fabian. In the second inning, left-fielder Jacob Young began his streak at the plate with a chopper off the bag up the middle to score right-fielder Kendrick Calilao who has been surging for the Gators at the plate in recent games.

Young’s chopper put Florida ahead by two heading into the third. Young led the Gators at the plate, going 4 for-5 tacking on four RBI with two runs scored.

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The Gators had a chance to add to the lead in the fourth, but couldn’t capitalize. A strikeout from third baseman Kirby McMullen with the bases loaded opened the door wide for a Kentucky rally. Barco recorded another clean frame in the bottom of the fourth and Florida added on another run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly from Young to score Calilao to give the Gators a four run lead.

A rally from the Wildcats cut the lead to just two with a pair of eighth inning homers from Coltyn Kessler and Oraj Anu off of starter Barco and that brought out reliever Jack Leftwich who quickly halted the Kentucky rally.

A four run ninth inning sealed the game for the Gators at the plate. Young wrapped up his electric night at the plate with a two-RBI single and Hickey topped it off with a two-run double to bring the final runs across home plate giving the Gators the 9-2 win.

King of the Hill

Barco allowed just two runs and recorded 10 strikeouts. This matches his career high in strikeouts as the freshman once again had a solid start on the mound for Florida.  In many ways, Barco has become Florida’s clutch man when everything is on the line.

Leftwich earned his second save of the season as he has now solidified himself as the Gator closer.

Next up, the Gators will face Stetson again this week in their final midweek match up. Florida will travel to Deland on Tuesday with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.

 

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