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Saturday April 8, 2006No. 23 UK Downs No. 19 Baseball, 8-7, To Complete Susp. Game

Lexington, KY

A two-out single in the bottom of the ninth by Kentucky senior Shaun Lehmann scored junior Sean Coughlin with the decisive run as the 23rd-ranked Wildcats (24-7/6-4 SEC) defeated No. 19 Florida (19-15/3-7 SEC), 8-7, in the completion of Friday night’s suspended game at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The teams had resumed action on Saturday at 4 p.m. with UK holding a 7-5 lead. The Gators rallied to tie the contest with a pair of runs in the eighth before the hosts completed their second-straight walk-off win with a base-hit off the wall in right center.


Sophomore Andrew Albers (2-1) threw 1.2 scoreless innings to pick up the victory, while senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) fell to 2-2 with his second-straight loss. Kentucky ended a six-game overall losing streak to Florida and snapped a 14-game slide on its own turf dating back to April 19, 1996. Game two of the series at 6:30 p.m. will pit Gator sophomore Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) (6-2, 2.51) versus Kentucky senior left-hander Craig Snipp (4-1, 2.10).


Kentucky jumped out to a 2-0 lead against senior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.) in the bottom of the first. After a marathon 15-pitch at bat to start things off, sophomore Antone DeJesus doubled to left field. Sophomore Collin Cowgill laid down a bunt that Ball threw away, allowing DeJesus to score and Cowgill to occupy second. Junior Billy Grace advanced his teammate to third with a sacrifice bunt and junior Ryan Strieby punched an RBI double to right for a two-run advantage.


Florida cut the deficit in half with a run in the second. Junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) reached on an error, junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.) singled into shallow right field and sophomore Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) sliced a base-hit to left field to load the bases. A grounder to first by Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) brought across Leclerc before senior Aaron Tennyson struck out junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) and sophomore Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.).


The Gators threatened in the sixth, as junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) stroked a one-out single and Leclerc followed with a four-pitch walk. Tennyson worked out of the jam with a strikeout of Cash and had McArthur tap out to second. 


Strieby drew a free pass to begin the bottom of the sixth and was sacrificed to second by Coughlin. Petrie then made a running catch against the wall in left to rob junior John Shelby of potential extra bases for the second out. After a wild pitch from Ball enabled Strieby to take third, senior Michael Bertram walked to give the Wildcats runners on the corners. A fielder’s choice by Lehmann forced Bertram at second to keep the margin at 2-1.


Florida exploded for four runs on five hits and a Wildcat error to seize a 5-2 lead in the seventh. Petrie led off with a single into left and the relay throw on Dickey’s bunt from Tennyson pulled Strieby off the bag, giving the Gators two runners aboard. Gaski laid down a sacrifice to move his teammates into scoring position and junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) had an RBI grounder to even the game at 2-2. Junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) moved the visitors in front with a base-hit up the middle and LaPorta launched a two-run homer deep over the right-field wall for a three-run margin. It was the fifth round-tripper of the year for the slugger and the sixth of his career against Kentucky. Leclerc connected on a single to end the evening for Tennyson (6.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 K, 2 BB) and Cash greeted senior reliever Matt Robinson with another base-hit. The righty had McArthur fly out to center to close the stanza.


The Wildcats countered with five runs of their own in the home portion of the seventh to grab a 7-5 lead. DeJesus smacked a one-out double and Cowgill’s run-scoring safety into left center prompted a pitching change as junior Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) replaced Ball. The senior right-hander worked 6.1 innings, scattering seven hits and four runs (three earned), with five strikeouts and three walks. Porter committed a balk to advance Cowgill to second and Grace tied the game with a two-run jack over the right-field fence, his fifth homer of the campaign. Strieby walked and Coughlin roped a double into the gap to score his teammate all the way from first with the go-ahead run. Sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) took over for Porter (0 IP, 2 H, 3 R) and retired Shelby on a ground out before yielding an RBI single to Bertram to give the ‘Cats a two-run lead. With Edmondson holding a 0-2 count on Lehmann, a weather delay began at 9:14 p.m. ET.  Lehmann opened Saturday’s action with an infield hit and sophomore Ryan Wilkes grounded out to end the inning.


The Gators clawed back in the eighth with two runs on three hits to even the score at seven runs apiece.  Sophomore Brock Baber took the hill for the Wildcats and yielded back-to-back singles to Petrie and Dickey. Gaski’s sacrifice attempt resulted in the bases loaded when Baber’s throw to third was late. Davis cranked a two-run single up the middle to tie the game at 7-7 and Jeroloman laid down a sac bunt to move his teammates into scoring position. Kentucky elected to walk LaPorta intentionally to fill the sacks and Baber was then lifted for Albers. The reliever struck out Leclerc and had Cash ground out to leave the bases full.


Junior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) replaced Edmondson (0.2 IP, 2 H) in the bottom of the eighth and issued a one-out walk to Cowgill. With two down, Jeroloman caught the runner attempting to steal second.


Florida wasted a prime opportunity to seize the lead in the ninth, stranding runners on second and third. McArthur started things off with an infield hit but was erased at second on Petrie’s bunt. Dickey poked a single through the right side for two runners aboard and Albers committed a balk during junior Austin Pride’s (Longwood, Fla.) at bat to advance the runners. The reliever responded with a strikeout of the pinch hitter and induced an inning-ending flyout by Davis.


The winning rally in the ninth develop when Coughlin stroked a one-out single and went to second on Shelby’s grounder to O’Day. Following an intentional walk to Bertram, Lehmann cranked a 1-2 pitch off the wall to give the Wildcats the one-run win. Florida held a 14-13 advantage in hits, as Cash went 3-for-5 and the quartet of Dickey, LaPorta, McArthur and Petrie chipped in with two hits apiece. Five different Wildcats contributed two hits to their winning effort.


Game Notes

  • The last time Florida had lost in Lexington was on April 19, 1996, a 7-4 Wildcat triumph.
  • The Gators have lost five-straight road games and are 0-4 away from Gainesville in SEC play.
  • This was UK head coach John Cohen’s first victory over Pat McMahon in seven attempts.
  • The 14 hits were the most for the Gators since totaling a season-high 18 in a 17-6 win over Harvard on March 12.
  • Florida fell to 12-1 when out-hitting its opponent this season.






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