Florida vs No.4 Kentucky Baseball Preview

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida hosts No. 4 Kentucky at Condron Family Ballpark this weekend in the final home series of the 2024 campaign.

Friday’s series opener has been moved up to 1 p.m. ET on SEC Network+ due to inclement weather in the forecast in the evening. Games two and three will air on SEC Network at 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The two teams last met in Lexington in 2023, with the Gators winning two of three (W 10-3, L 6-4, W 5-2) to secure a share of the 2023 SEC Title. Florida and Kentucky most recently faced off in Gainesville back in 2022, as Florida posted victories in the first two games for a series win (W 9-2, W 9-1, L 8-1).

Florida has won six-straight series vs. Kentucky dating back through 2017 and last dropped a home series to the Wildcats in 2015. The Orange & Blue is 148-72-1 all-time vs. the Wildcats featuring a 79-30 record at home. The Gators are 27-21 in the series under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, highlighted by a 12-9 mark in Gainesville.


Friday: LHP Pierce Coppola (0-2, 10.50 ERA) vs RHP Trey Pooser (3-1, 3.88 ERA)

Saturday: RHP Liam Peterson (1-4, 6.54 ERA) vs LHP Dominic Niman (8-3, 4.85 ERA)

Sunday: LHP Jac Caglianone vs (5-1, 4.39 ERA) RHP Mason Moore (8-1, 4.96 ERA)

After a six-game experiment as Florida’s Friday night starter, junior right hander Brandon Neely is back in the closer role for the remainder of the 2024 season.


The No.4 ranked Kentucky Wildcats travel to Gainesville with an impressive 35-10 (18-6 SEC) record. Nick Mingione’s squad cruised through the start of conference play, winning their first five SEC series which included four sweeps. The second half of conference play has not been as pleasant for the Wildcats, having dropped two series in a row to Tennessee and South Carolina. Just when it looked as if Kentucky was coming back down to earth, they took two of three from No.2 Arkansas last weekend.

While Kentucky is very productive at the plate, they got to this point due to their success on the mound. Their earned run average of 4.64 ranks 38th in the country and their WHIP of 1.34 ranks 16th. Kentucky pitching is allowing opposing teams to hit just .230 off them. For comparison, Florida pitching is allowing opposing teams to hit .267. Kentucky also throws more strikes on the mound than Florida does, walking just four batters per nine innings compared to Florida’s 4.65.

Kentucky hasn’t generated a ton of swing and misses on the mound this season but are respectable in this area as well, striking out nine per nine innings which ranks 82nd in the country. Florida has one of the best strikeout staffs in the country, striking out 10.8 per game, which ranks T-11th in the country.

Offensively, the Wildcats are slashing .293/.411/.506 with 67 homers. Kentucky is very well rounded at the plate, but what stands out the most is their .411 on base percentage, which ranks 42nd in the country. Kentucky strikes out on 23.1% of their at bats, 4.4% less than Florida.

You won’t be able to find very much this Kentucky baseball team can’t do, which you should somewhat expect from the 4th ranked team in college baseball.


Florida is currently sitting at 25-23 (10-14 SEC) with six regular season games left. The Gators (at the very least) must win three of their next six games, meaning they have to take one series while avoid being swept in the other. Ideally, Florida wins both series against Kentucky and Georgia, which would put them in a good spot for the postseason. If they can’t, they will likely have to do some serious damage in the SEC Tournament to hear their name called for an NCAA bid. If Florida loses both series, the chances of the Gators making the postseason are slim to none, unless they win their conference tournament.


Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.