The number 19 Kentucky Wildcats (36-16, 16-13) took game two of at three game series over number three Florida (41-13, 19-10) on Friday behind a dominant day from their bullpen, winning 6-4 in Lexington.
Gator starter Brandon Sproat gave up six earned runs on seven hits, two walks and two hit batters in just five innings. Sproat did have seven strikeouts and those strikeouts gave him over 100 on the season to match what Hurston Waldrep has done and this marked the ninth time in program history that the Gators had two pitchers strike out 100 or more batters in a season.
At the plate, the Gators were kept in the game by Wyatt Langford. On the day, Langford had two homers against the Wildcats, but it was not enough.
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) May 20, 2023
Gators attack early
Florida’s day started with a strikeout in the top of the first, but their second batter had a more welcoming experience. After seeing two pitches, Wyatt Langford launched the next pitch over the left field wall and out of the ballpark. This homer gave the Gators a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the inning.
The lead did not last long. In the bottom of the first, Kentucky got the run back on a two-out single to left field to tie the game. The second inning would be highlighted by dominant pitching from both starters who allowed zero runs in the inning. And for the Gators, Brandon Sproat struck out the side in the second.
Then, in the third, Jac Caglianone smacked a two-run homer, his 28th, over the wall in left field to regain the lead for the Gators. Josh Rivera almost had the third home run of the game for the Gators, but he had his hit robbed along the right field wall to end the inning. Going into the bottom half of the third, the Gators led 3-1.
Wildcats answer back
Going into the fourth inning, Florida held a two run lead. Unfortunately for the Gators, when they left it they would be tied. The Wildcats hit two homers in the inning that would tie the game up at 3-3. Kentucky added another run in the following inning as well. After Sproat got two outs in the fifth, he could not find his way out of the inning before the Wildcats took the lead. He gave up a double to left field that gave the Wildcats a 4-3 lead. Then the Wildcats added two more runs on a two-out single up the middle. This put the score at 6-3 in favor of the Wildcats upon entering the sixth inning.
Florida did get one of those runs back in the sixth. Leading off the inning, Wyatt Langford drilled his second home run of the day that made it a 6-4 ballgame.
Wildcats shut down the Gators over the final innings
Cade Fisher did his job well out of the bullpen for the Gators in the final three innings after replacing Brandon Sproat. But the Kentucky bullpen did its job effectively as well. Florida scored zero runs over the final three innings. And in the final inning, all three Gator hitters went down swinging and the Wildcats held on for the 6-4 win.
The final game of the series takes place on Saturday, May 20th in Lexington.