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Friday April 7, 2000Baseball Defeats Kentucky 7-2

Lexington, Ky.

Kurt Keene’s bases loaded triple in the fourth inning helped Florida to a 7-2 victory in the series opener at Kentucky Friday night. The Gators won their fifth consecutive Southeastern Conference road game, improving to 25- 14, 8-5 in SEC play.

Kentucky dropped to 25-7, 5-7 in SEC play.

Tied at 2 in the fourth, third baseman Aaron Sobieraj reached on a fielder’s choice and Kevin Estrada followed with a single to start the inning. Mark Kiger then grounded up the middle but Estrada, who was running on a hit and run play, was safe at second and the throw to first got away as Sobieraj came home with the go-ahead run.

After a walk to Matt Siegel loaded the bases, Keene hit a sinking line drive to left that UK left fielder Aaron McGlone dove for only to have the ball bounce past him to allow all three runs to score. Keene was tagged out at third when he slid past the bag. But, the damage had been done as UF led 6-2.

Keene has made a living with the bases loaded this season, improving to 9- for-13 with 17 RBI.

UF starter Craig Mosher left the game for reliever Jay Belflower after walking the first two batters to start the bottom half of the fourth inning. Belflower (pictured) then struck out the next three batters to end the Wildcat threat.

Kentucky managed just four hits over the final five innings off Belflower, who earned the win to improve to 4-2 on the season. He finished with six strikeouts with a career-best six innings out of the bullpen.

“Jay did exactly what we needed him to do tonight,” said Head Coach Andy Lopez. “He showed a lot of maturity on the mound tonight.”

Florida added a seventh run in the eighth inning on a run-scoring single by Kiger, scoring Estrada. Estrada had doubled to start the inning.

Florida out-hit UK 12-7 with Keene, Pete Nystrom and Tony Socarras each recording a pair of hits on the night. Tim Olson also extended his hit streak to 20 games with a second inning single.

Wildcat starter Brandon Webb took the complete game loss, dropping his first game of the season in six decisions. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits with seven strikeouts and four walks.

The two teams play the second game of the series Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The game can be heard on WRUF AM 850 starting at 1:50 p.m.

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