The No. 20 Florida Gators (20-12) lost game three and the series against No. 19 Kentucky (22-10) Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Wildcats used a seven-run sixth inning rally to take the lead over the Gators and then fended off a Florida rally late in the game. It was a tough weekend for the Florida pitching staff as Kentucky collected 50 hits and 36 runs over the course of the series.
DH A.J. Reed continued his dominance at the plate and hit his third home run in three games against the Gators. He was 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored on the day. Reed went 8-12 in the series and had a win on the mound in game one.
Every Kentucky starter had at least one hit and six hitters had at least two hits. Kentucky was able to pound out 18 hits including eight in the sixth inning.
Wildcat reliever Dylan Dwyer (3-1) picked up the win while Kyle Cody recorded his second save of the season. Cody needed only two pitches when he came on for the final out in the ninth inning as he got Florida catcher Taylor Gushue to ground out to end the game.
Florida held a 3-2 lead going into the sixth inning. With two outs in the third inning, John Sternagel singled, and Casey Turgeon reached on an error by the Kentucky shortstop. Richie Martin then drove them both home with a double to right center field. Martin then collected another RBI in the fifth inning when he singled home Buddy Reed who reached on a fielder’s choice.
Martin was 3-5 on the day with 3 RBI and scored a run. Center fielder Harrison Bader and DH Peter Alonso both had two hits on the day. Alonso had a three-run home run in the eighth inning which capped off a five-run inning for the Gators. It brought Florida within a run of the Wildcats but Florida was unable to score another run to tie the game.
Bobby Poyner (3-3) suffered the loss for Florida as he allowed five runs on four hits in 1.1 innings on the mound. It was a tough outing for the Florida staff and a tough weekend overall as the Gators were forced to go to the bullpen early and often in every game. 15 pitching changes were made over the series, which is a new issue for the Gators this season.
The Gators will look to get back on track with game four of their eight-game road trip Tuesday night in Tallahassee. Florida will play rival Florida State (26-5) for the third time this season. The Gators won the first two meetings, one at home and one at a neutral site in Jacksonville. FSU is riding a seven-game winning streak including a weekend sweep of Notre Dame. They have not lost since their last matchup with the Gators.