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Saturday April 8, 2000Gator Baseball Shuts Out Kentucky 18-0

Lexington, Ky.

Florida baseball coach Andy Lopez saw something Saturday he had not seen in over 20 years of coaching – snow. Playing in temperatures at game time at 38 degrees with snow flurries before and during the game, Florida shutout Kentucky 18-0 in the second game of the series at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington.

Florida won its fifth consecutive game, running its Southeastern Conference-road winning streak to six games to improve to 26-14, 9-5 in SEC play. Florida has won 12 of its last 13 games overall, while Kentucky dropped to 25-8, 5-8 in league play.

The Florida bats did not seem to be bothered by the cold temperatures, belting 17 hits on the day highlighted by two home runs by Jason Dill. Tim Olson also had a home run and each starter had at least one hit on the day.

Florida took advantage of early control problems by UK starter Mark Michael to build a 4-0 lead in the second inning. After a single by Pete Nystrom, Michael walked or hit each of the next three batters to score the first run of the game. Kevin Estrada reached on a fielder’s choice to score the second run, scoring Olson. After a wild pitch got Estrada to second, Mark Kiger singled to bring home Aaron Sobieraj and Estrada for the four-run advantage.

Dill added to the UF lead with a two-run home run in the third inning that cleared the scoreboard in right field, landing across the Wildcat football practice field for a six-run lead. He hit his second home run of the game in the fourth inning to left field with two runners on base as part of a four-run inning. He finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a career- high tying five RBI.

Florida starter Jeff Cardozo, bothered by a sore shoulder all season, pitched through the cold conditions for his second win in as many starts. He lasted five innings without giving up a run, allowing four hits with three strikeouts to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Leading 10-0 through four innings, the only remaining suspense for Florida was whether it would snow again and Olson could extend his 20-game hit streak. After being hit by a pitch in his first at-bat and fouling out in the second, Olson lined a double to right field in the fifth inning to extend the streak to 21 games. He finished with two hits in five at- bats.

Reliever Eddie Rojas completed the shutout victory with four scoreless innings out of the bullpen, earning his first career save. It was the first shutout by the Florida squad since 1996, a span of 230 games.

Florida added a run in the fifth and six in the eighth inning to run the advantage to 17-0. Olson hit his 10th home run of the season with two runners on base and UF scored three additional runs with the help of two UK errors to extend the inning.

Florida and Kentucky play the third game of the series Sunday at noon.

UF Career Home Run Leaders 55 Brad Wilkerson 36 Mario Linares 36 Mark Ellis 32 Chuck Hazzard 31 Greg Catalanotte 30 JASON DILL 29 Dave Falcone
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