Saturday May 24, 2014Florida Advances to SEC Tournament Final with 6-5 Win Over Kentucky
HOOVER, Alabama – Josh Tobias hit a RBI single in the top of the eighth and Ryan Larson scored the winning run to propel the Florida baseball team to the 2014 Southeastern Conference Tournament Final. The Gators beat Kentucky 6-5 on Saturday night and will face LSU in Sunday’s final at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Kentucky got on the board first, as Austin Cousino led off the bottom of the first with a walk and Max Kuhn doubled down the left field line to bring him home. The Wildcats added a pair of runs in the second inning on a Cousino sacrifice fly and a RBI single by Ka’ai Tom for a 3-0 lead.
Florida answered in the top of the third with two runs. Buddy Reed walked to open the frame and Tobias doubled to right center, setting up Casey Turgeon’s RBI single through the right side. Richie Martin then hit a RBI ground out to cut the UK lead to 3-2.
In the fifth inning, the Gators drew back-to-back, one-out walks and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. With two outs, Harrison Bader singled up the middle to bring home Tobias and Turgeon to give Florida a 4-3 lead.
Kentucky regained the lead in the sixth inning on a pair of unearned runs. Kyle Barrett reached on an error and Cousino hit a two-out RBI single through the right side to bring him home. Kuhn hit his second double of the day and Cousino scored from first base for a 5-4 Wildcat lead.
Florida tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the seventh, as Bader picked up his third RBI of the game with his ninth hit of the tournament. One inning later, UF scored the winning run when Tobias’ two-out singled home Larson.
Eric Hanhold, who entered the game in the sixth, pitched the final 3.1 innings without giving up a run to earn the win. Kirby Snead was also effective in relief, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing two unearned runs.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan
“I thought it was a great game. Kentucky has had our number this year. They have a real chance in a regional. They have one of the best lineups in the league. We knew it was going to be a fight all the way to the end. Our guys fought. I think every starter got a hit. Harrison (Bader) had three and led our team with the three RBIs. Josh Tobias went 2-for-3 driving in the go-ahead run in the eighth. I thought Kirby Snead really settled things down for us. Eric (Hanhold) was really good at the end of the game. We are excited to play one more day. We are looking forward to it.”
Josh Tobias, 3B
“I was looking for a pitch to drive. He was down 2-0 in the count. He threw me a fastball that I didn’t like, and then he threw a slider that I didn’t try to do too much with.”
Harrison Bader, CF
“I think guys are just trying to get singles and not trying to do too much. We are just trying to hit it hard and not far.”
The Gators will play LSU on Sunday in the SEC Tournament Final. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
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