No.4 Florida dropped game two in Lexington by a score of 6-4 as the Wildcats forced a rubber match inside Kentucky Proud Park on Friday night.
RHP Brandon Sproat (7-3) was credited with his third loss of the season as the Wildcats’ offense totaled six runs in his five innings pitched. The right hander allowed seven hits including two home runs, two walks, and two HBP in 94 pitches.
Sproat left too many pitches in the middle of the zone tonight, often times hanging his off-speed for Kentucky batters to take advantage of. However, you have to tip your cap to Nick Mingione’s squad as they perfectly executed their scouting report on Florida’s ace. The Wildcats attacked the hanging breaking balls throughout the game and did a great job with two outs, collecting six hits on 13 attempts with two gone in the inning.
No.19 Kentucky (36-16, 16-13 SEC) ranks first in the SEC in batting average since the start of league play (.284 before tonight). The Wildcats added nine hits on 31 attempts in tonight’s contest.
The Pace, Florida native struck out seven in the contest, eclipsing 100 strikeouts in a regular season for the first time in his career. Sproat joins RHP Hurston Waldrep in the 100-strikeout club for the 2023 season, the first pair of teammates to reach this milestone in the same year since 2018 (Jackson Kowar and Brady Singer) and the ninth in program history.
Wyatt Langford and Jac Caglianone were the only sources of offensive production for the Gators on Friday night. The duo went 3-8 at the dish with four RBI, three home runs, and three runs scored. The rest of the team was 2-23 at the plate with one run scored.
Langford’s multi-homer game marks the eighth of his career and gives him 16 home runs on the 2023 season.
The Gators weren’t locating the breaking ball well against Kentucky pitching, striking out 14 times in the contest including three straight to end the game.
LHP Cade Fisher provided three innings of no run relief for the Gators, allowing Brandon Neely and Philip Abner to enter Saturday’s rubber match fully available as the pair has not pitched in this series to this point.
Despite the loss, the Gators (41-12, 19-10 SEC) aren’t eliminated from SEC Championship contention as Vanderbilt defeated Arkansas 10-8 tonight. Florida needs a win tomorrow night and for both Arkansas and LSU to lose in order to hold a share in the SEC Championship.
First pitch in Saturday’s finale is at 2:00 PM.