Freshman Joey Simon (Tampa, Fla.) pitched a six-hitter over six innings to
lead 20th-ranked Florida to a 8-7 victory over Kentucky in the second
round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan
Stadium. Florida advances to the semifinals Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to face
the winner of Friday’s Kentucky/South Carolina loser’s bracket matchup.
Simon (9-2) allowed just three runs on six hits to earn his eighth
consecutive victory of the season. After a leadoff triple led to a single
UK run, Simon then retired a season-high 11 consecutive batters as UF
built a 7-1 lead.
Mark Kiger started the third inning with a single, scoring on Matt
Siegel’s triple to the gap in right-center field. Kurt Keene followed with
a RBI single for a 2-1 advantage. The Gators built on the lead with two
runs in the fourth on four hits, including run-scoring singles by Kevin
Estrada and Kiger.
UF added one run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly after loading the
bases with no outs. Brian Haught added a two-run home run in the seventh
Simon, who held UK scoreless after the first inning, left after giving up
back-to-back singles to start the seventh inning. Sophomore Jay Belflower
struck out shortstop Jeff Meade before Andy Green doubled to score both
Wildcat runs. Meade was stranded as Beau Moore and John Wilson struck out
to end the inning.
Florida fought off a Kentucky rally in the ninth inning that put the game-
tying run on second base after four unearned runs had crossed the plate to
pull UK within 8-7. Belflower got Robert Newton to fly out to end the