Cats finish off comeback, take series from No. 1 Florida


Sophomore, Evan White celebrating a homerun during the game against the Florida Gators at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday,March 26, 2016. Photo by Josh Mott | Staff.

Chris Angolia

UK baseball capped off its weekend with a 5-4 comeback victory over Florida, taking the series from the Gators.

With the win, the Cats have now won the last four weekend matchups against the Gators, and UK has beaten a No. 1 ranked team in a series for the third straight season.

The Cats found themselves down early after the Gators put up three runs in the second. UK was able to get to Gators starter Alex Faedo in the sixth when Luke Becker and Riley Mahan each picked up RBI hits in the inning chasing Faedo.

In the seventh, Evan White singled to lead things off, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. After White eventually moved up to third with two out in the inning, he came in to score on a wild pitch tying the game at 3.  

The game would head into extras after neither team could push a run across in the eighth or ninth innings.

Sean Hjelle came on in the tenth for UK trying to keep the score at 3, but the Gators’ Buddy Reed reached on an error by Mahan. Reed was then able to moved to second on a wild pitch and went on to score on an RBI single by Gators designated hitter JJ Schwarz, giving the Gators the 4-3 lead.

Mahan stepped in with one out in the bottom half looking to make up for the error, and did exactly that. He belted a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence tying the game at four. Kole Cottam and Storm Wilson were both able to reach, putting the Cats in business with one out and White coming to the plate.

White belted a single off Dunning’s back heel, but Trey Marshall, who pinch ran for Cottam, was forced to hold at third.

JaVon Shelby stepped in 1-4 on the day looking to give UK the victory, but on a 0-2 pitch, the ball got away from Gators catcher Mike Rivera, and Marshall scored, giving the Cats the 5-4 victory and clinching the series.

Mahan’s homer capped off a 3-5 day for the sophomore and along with the homer, Mahan had a double and an RBI single, bringing his average to .330 on the year.

“Just wanted to put together a good at-bat, I just wanted to get us back in the game,” Mahan said regarding his approach in the 10th.

Hjelle moved to 3-0 on the year with the victory and he is still yet to allow an earned run on the year, and with two strikeouts today, his yearly total is up to 16 over six innings of work.

“It’s incredible — it’s an amazing experience, the stadium on Saturday was incredible,” Hjelle said about his first SEC appearance. “This group of guys, the chemistry that we have, the bond that we all share, it’s just incredible. I love these guys to death.”

The Cats are now 17-6 and 4-2 in SEC play and have won their first two series of the year. They will now turn their attention to Northern Kentucky, who they face Tuesday at 6:30 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.