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Saturday March 16, 2013No. 10 Kentucky Evens Series With 11-5 Win Over Florida Baseball

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 10 Kentucky (15-3/1-1 SEC) overcame a 3-0 deficit and moved ahead with a five-run seventh inning to post an 11-5 victory over Florida (9-11/1-1 SEC) to even the Eastern Division rivals’ weekend series on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Trailing 3-2, the Wildcats sent 11 batters to the plate and scored five runs on three hits, three hit-by-pitches and two walks in the seventh stanza to grab the lead. The teams will play the rubber game tomorrow at 12 p.m.

 

“He [Jonathon Crawford] threw the ball well for five innings and then he had the lead-off walk in the sixth and there were two runs on the board, and then obviously in the seventh, eighth and ninth we fell apart,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We gave up seven walks and hit five batters – that’s not good. I thought Crawford cut the ball loose and he looked like he was more aggressive today, it’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t throw strikes there in the seventh.”

 

“Harrison [Bader] had a great day. I think Casey Turgeon has been swinging the bat very well and obviously, Josh Tobias has been swinging the bat well, too.”

 

Florida opened the scoring for the second day in a row on a two-out RBI single by senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (1-for-4, two RBI) in the first inning. Freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (3-for-4, two RBI) increased his hitting streak to four games with a one-out single into left field off of senior left-hander Jerad Grundy (4-1). Sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) moved Bader over with a sacrifice bunt and Ramjit punched a base-hit past diving sophomore third baseman Max Kuhn to break the ice.

 

After junior Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (0-3) cruised through the top of the second on nine pitches, the Gators added two runs on three hits to build a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) (2-for-4) led off with a homer into the left-field bleachers. It was his second round-tripper of the season after connecting on a solo shot in the series opener. Sophomore Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.) drew a walk and sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (1-for-3, two runs) stroked a one-out single into right field. UF executed a double steal, with Mitchell and Turgeon each swiping his first bag of the season. It marked the first stolen bases allowed by Kentucky in 406 plate appearances. Bader came through with his second hit of the afternoon to score Mitchell and Grundy worked out of further trouble by having Shafer ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.  

 

Sophomore Austin Cousino (3-for-5, four RBI, two runs) had a ground-rule double with two down in the third for the Wildcats’ initial hit but was left stranded when Crawford caught senior Zac Zellers looking on strikes.  

 

Redshirt junior Micheal Thomas (1-for-3, two runs) was hit by a pitch with one out in the fifth and Crawford responded by having junior Matt Reida fly out to left field and Cousino ground out.

 

Kentucky pulled within 3-2 in the sixth on a run-scoring triple by sophomore A.J. Reed (1-for-3, two RBI) and an RBI grounder by junior J.T. Riddle (1-for-5, two RBI). Zellers had drawn a leadoff walk from Crawford and came all the way around from first base on Reed’s three-bagger down the right-field line. Riddle followed with a ground ball to first base to bring in Reed.

 

The Wildcats sent 11 batters to the plate and tallied five runs on three hits in the seventh inning to seize a 7-3 advantage. Freshman Kyle Barrett walked to start things off and Thomas was hit by a pitch for a pair of Wildcats aboard before a walk to Reida ended the afternoon for Crawford (6.0 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 K). Cousino greeted sophomore Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) with a two-run single into left field to give UK a 4-3 lead and Zellers legged out a bunt to re-load the bases. Reed lofted a sacrifice fly into center field to score Reida and Riddle singled into center field to bring in Cousino and prompt another pitching change. Freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.) had Kuhn fly out to right field and was replaced by sophomore Corey Stump (Lakeland, Fla.), who hit redshirt sophomore Thomas Bernal to re-fill the bags and then plunked Barrett to enable Zellers to come in.

 

Grundy worked six innings in which he gave up six hits and three runs, with four walks. Turgeon earned a free pass from sophomore Chandler Shepherd with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bader narrowed the Gators’ deficit to 7-4 with his third double of the season into the gap in left field.

 

Stump plunked Cousino with one down in the eighth and redshirt freshman Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) came out of the bullpen. The right-hander had Zellers fly out before Cousino stole second base. After issuing a walk to Reed, Rhodes had Riddle ground out.

 

Sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) led off with a base-hit into right field and Tobias poked a two-out single before a grounder by Mitchell advanced both of his teammates into scoring position. Junior Trevor Gott replaced Shepherd with a 1-1 count and struck out sophomore Mike Fahrman (Tampa, Fla.) to complete the frame.

 

The Wildcats tacked on four more runs in the ninth on a double by Thomas, a grounder by Reida and a two-run homer by Cousino. Kuhn had drawn a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second by Bernal. After junior Lucas Witt walked, Thomas hit a two-bagger into left field to score Kuhn. A grounder to second base by Reida brought across Witt and Cousino followed with his fourth big fly to right field for an 11-4 margin.

 

Turgeon started the Gators’ ninth with a walk and went to second when Bader reached on an error. A grounder by Shafer advanced his teammates and Ramjit finalized the scoring with a grounder to first base that scored Turgeon. Grundy improved to 4-1 with the win, while Gott picked up his sixth saves. Florida out-hit Kentucky, 9-8.

 

The decisive game of the series will pit Gator freshman right-hander Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (0-1, 6.39) against Kentucky junior lefty Corey Littrell (2-0, 3.42). The contest will be available on GatorVision, while Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell will call the action for the Gator IMG Sports Network. Live audio and stats will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also follow updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.

 

Game Notes

·         Florida and Kentucky will play a deciding game three of the series tomorrow. UF is 2-2 in weekend series this year.

·         Freshman Harrison Bader matched his career-high with three hits and reached base five times.

·         Sophomore Mike Fahrman made his first career start for the Gators and served as the designated hitter.

·         Sophomore Connor Mitchell had his first career stolen base in the second inning on the front end of a double steal, while sophomore Casey Turgeon notched his first stolen base of the year on the back end.

·         Kentucky turned double plays in the second and fifth innings.

·         Junior Jonathon Crawford worked at least six innings for the third-straight start.

·         Sophomore Josh Tobias had his second-consecutive multiple-hit game of the weekend.

·         The Gators did not commit any errors this afternoon.

 

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