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Sunday April 9, 2006No. 23 Kentucky Captures Series With 8-6 Win Over No. 19 Baseball

Lexington, KY

No. 23 Kentucky (25-8/7-5 SEC) scored the game’s first seven runs on its way to an 8-6 victory over No. 19 Florida (20-16/4-8 SEC) on Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The triumph enabled the Wildcats to claim their first series victory over the Gators since April 16-18, 1999 at McKethan Stadium. UK had not taken a set from UF in Lexington since winning two of three games from April 22-24, 1994.


Sophomore Greg Dombrowski (6-1) worked 7.2 innings, giving up seven hits and five runs, although only two were earned for the SEC’s ERA leader. Sophomore Brock Baber collected his fourth save after working out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and allowing a run in the ninth. The Wildcats belted four home runs, matching the most surrendered by the Gators this season. A bright spot for Florida was that junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) (2-for-5, two RBI) homered for the third-straight game, tying him for the team lead with seven round-trippers.   


The Wildcats shot out of the gates with four runs on three hits in the first against freshman Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.). Sophomore Antone DeJesus led off with a single to right field and sophomore Collin Cowgill reached on a fielding error before a double from junior Sean Coughlin drove in his teammates. Junior Ryan Strieby clubbed a 2-2 pitch from Spottswood over the right-field wall to give the hosts a 4-0 lead. The round-tripper was his eighth of the season and enabled Kentucky to match its highest output in the opening frame this year.   


Cowgill connected on his eighth dinger with two down in the second for a 6-0 advantage. Spottswood retired the first two Wildcats before committing a fielding error on DeJesus’ bunt. Cowgill stepped to the plate and jacked a 3-1 offering to left center to end the afternoon for Spottswood (1-1), who allowed four hits and six runs (three earned) with two strikeouts over 1.2 innings. Coughlin greeted senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) with his second double before the reliever had Strieby fly out.


Senior Stephen Barton (Miami, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to start the third and was sacrificed to second by sophomore Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.). After junior Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) drew a walk from Dombrowski, the righty had junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) ground out to short. 


Although Florida had runners on the corners with one down in the fifth, it could not push a run across against Dombrowski. Junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) walked on four pitches to begin the stanza and moved to second on Barton’s grounder. Following a base-hit into left by junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.), UF’s first of the afternoon, the righty induced an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play. Senior Michael Bertram launched a solo shot in the bottom of the inning off O’Day for a 7-0 margin.  


The Gators scored three runs on three hits in the sixth to close the gap to 7-3. Davis and Jeroloman poked back-to-back singles and an RBI single by LaPorta brought across Davis with Florida’s initial run. A throwing error on the play allowed LaPorta and Jeroloman to occupy second and third, respectively, and consecutive grounders by junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) and sophomore Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) reduced the Wildcats’ lead to four runs.


Junior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) replaced O’Day with two down in the sixth after his teammate had logged a season-high four innings, with five hits, three K, two walks and a run.


Florida clawed back further in the eighth with two runs on four hits and a UK error for a 7-5 count. Jeroloman led off with a single into shallow left field, Leclerc punched a one-out single and McArthur’s grounder was misplayed to load the bases. A fielder’s choice by Petrie scored Jeroloman but forced McArthur at second for out number two. An RBI single up the middle from Barton brought the Gators within 7-5 and prompted a pitching change, as Baber came out of the bullpen for Dombrowski (7.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER). Dickey’s liner eluded the second baseman to fill the sacks but the hurler had Cash fly out to left to preserve his club’s two-run lead.


Lehmann opened the bottom of the inning with his fifth homer, a ball that landed inches above the wall in left center for an 8-5 cushion. Sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) replaced Hurst (1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R) and recorded the final two outs for the Gators. LaPorta finalized the margin with a one-out bomb in the ninth. UK held an 11-9 advantage in hits, as the top four hitters in the lineup were a combined 8-for-17 with six RBI and six runs. Dickey, Jeroloman and LaPorta had two hits apiece for the Gators.


Florida returns home to McKethan Stadium on Tuesday night to face Bethune-Cookman at 6:30 p.m. The Gators and Wildcats have not met on the diamond since May 31, 2003, when UF notched an 8-6 victory at the NCAA Coral Gables Regional. The Orange and Blue have claimed all 18 meetings between the squads.


Game Notes

  • The Gators fell to 1-5 in SEC road games and are now 5-6 away from Gainesville this season.
  • Chas Spottswood made the second league start of the season, he received a no-decision on March 19 against Arkansas (0.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER).
  • Florida has not posted consecutive wins since March 14 (10-3 at UCF) and March 17 (6-3 over Arkansas).
  • Pat McMahon is now 12-3 as a head coach for UF against Kentucky.
  • Adam Davis and Gavin Dickey each extended his hitting streak to five games.





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