Bat Cats Pull Out an Intense Win Over Florida 7-5
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Bat Cats Pull Out an Intense Win Over Florida 7-5

Grant Grubbs9 months


Article written by:Grant GrubbsGrant Grubbs


baseball 3:26
<small>(UK Athletics)<small>
[caption id="attachment_345016" align="aligncenter" width="1023"] (UK Athletics)[/caption] Thursday night, the Bat Cats bounced back from their loss to Tennessee in a BIG way. Playing at home, the Kentucky Bat Cats (27-15) defeated the #10 Florida Gators (31-14) 7-5 in a wild battle. Nevertheless, what ended in a shootout, began as a defensive battle. The Bat Cats couldn’t have jumped out to a better start... Defensively, at least. Powered by sophomore Cole Stupp’s phenomenal pitching, Kentucky held Florida scoreless for the first three innings. Not to mention, the third inning was over after only nine pitches. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, their bats were just as cold as Florida’s. Kentucky had only found two hits heading into the third inning and an end wasn’t in sight. After failing to bat in a run, the Bat Cats headed into the fourth inning looking for a change. Change, they found. Kentucky got another chance to put some runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth and took advantage. After Kentucky loaded the bases with only one out, Kentucky native Cam Hill ripped a single into right field to bat in two runners. Seemingly rattled by Kentucky’s two quick runs, the Gators began to make the ‘Cats’ plays for them. On nearly back-to-back plays, Florida catcher Nathan Hickey committed errors leading to a 4-0 Bat Cats’ lead heading into the fifth inning. Despite Kentucky’s hot inning, Florida opted to keep Franco Aleman on the mound. The Bat Cats made them pay the price. After Coltyn Kessler smacked a single to center field, Ryan Ritter batted him in to extend Kentucky’s lead to 5-0. Florida was undeniably struggling in the field, but their real issues were coming at the plate. The Gators simply could not figure out Stupp’s stunning pitching. Nevertheless, they weren’t ready to quit trying. In the sixth inning, the Gators solved a small piece of Kentucky’s puzzle. With a quick double from Josh Rivera, the Gators had their second hit of the night. They capitalized on their small victory. Sophomore Gator Jacob Young sacrificed a pop-fly to bat in Rivera and cut Kentucky’s deficit to 5-1. Sadly for the Bat Cats, Florida’s rally didn’t stop there. Keeping the good times rolling, Florida started off the seventh inning with three straight hits leading to another run scored. To pile on, Kentucky hadn’t even found a single out. With a slowed down offense, Kentucky’s back was against the wall. To put it simply, they didn’t respond to the pressure. In fact, Florida continued to have their way with the Bat Cats for the remainder of the seventh inning. Driving in three more runs, the Gators had tied the game 5-5 in the blink of an eye. On the flip side, any sliver of Kentucky’s batting prowess from earlier had disappeared. In just a few moments, the Bat Cats were already back on the field having to try and slow down the Gators with things looking grim. Although Kentucky’s new pitcher Daniel Harper started off the inning strong, the ‘Cats were quickly falling apart again. Fueled by a dinger to center field by Sterlin Thompson, Florida, once again, loaded the bases. Like a boxer up against the ropes, Harper and company direly needed to punch their way out of the situation. They did just that. After a fiery strikeout from Harper, the Bat Cats headed into bottom of the eighth inning ready for a dog fight. Inspired by Harper’s show of passion, the ‘Cats stepped up to the plate rejuvenated with energy. With a few quick hits, the Bat Cats had a man on first and third and more importantly, the potential to score. Jimmy Rhodes didn’t let the potential to go to waste. The sophomore outfielder drilled a bomb to centerfield to drive in his two teammates on base. Heading into the final inning, Kentucky led 7-5. One more stand and Kentucky was leaving the field with a win... Enter Daniel Harper. The pitcher who had already ignited the team once on the night, stepped up again. Striking out the first two Gators and throwing a pitch that ended in a pop-fly out, Harper put the nails in Florida’s coffin. Although the win is admittedly exciting for the Bat Cats, they won’t have much time to celebrate. Tonight was only the first contest of a three-game series. The Wildcats will look to run it back tomorrow night when they face off against the Gators at 6:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network+.

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