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
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-
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