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Photo by Tim Casey, Florida

Gators Top Cats 10-1 In Series Finale

Photo by Tim Casey, Florida

(Photo by Tim Casey, Florida)

Kentucky’s six game winning streak finally came to an end Sunday, as No. 5 Florida salvaged a 10-1 win to avoid the weekend sweep. After claiming the series on Saturday, UK was searching for its first three-game series sweep of the Gators since 1993. Unfortunately, the Wildcats just did not have enough left in the tank.

The Cats (25-17, 10-10) got out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning with Zach Arnold driving in Storm Wilson on an RBI single through the left side. That was the extent of the offensive excitement for the day, however, as the Gators scored 10 unanswered runs in the remaining seven innings of play. The Cats couldn’t capitalize at the plate, leaving eight base runners stranded on seven total hits.

UK starter Andrew Nelson, coming off a solid start last weekend against Tennessee, picked up his third loss of the season. In 3.2 innings of work, Nelson allowed five earned runs on eight hits, striking out two batters and walking one. Coach Henderson turned to relievers Zach Logue, Dylan Dwyer, Robert Zeigler, and Bo Wilson to stop the bleeding, but the Gators’ bats were too hot.

 

Weekend Takeaways:

1. Zack Brown and Dustin Beggs are blossoming into great SEC starting pitchers. In the series-opener on Friday, Brown threw 115 pitches in seven innings with six K’s and two walks. He also surrendered just five hits and zero runs in his fourth win of the season. Beggs tossed 8.1 strong innings of his own in the 7-6 win Saturday, giving up three earned runs on six hits, striking out six and walking two. Brown and Beggs are a combined 10-6 this season, but it’s how impressive they’ve been lately that stands out.

2. The Cats really need a reliable Sunday starter on the mound. It’s been documented how Kyle Cody entered the season as the 19th best MLB prospect but has struggled tremendously thus far. In fact, Cody has been so inconsistent that he was benched last weekend in the series win versus Tennessee. Instead, Coach Henderson has now turned to Andrew Nelson and a flurry of relievers in SEC series-finales. But that tactic was unsuccessful today. This means UK has placed a lot of pressure on the aforementioned Friday and Saturday starters, Brown and Beggs, to ensure victories. We’ll see how long this can last.

3. The bottom of UK’s batting order was sensational. While the top of the order was not its usual freakish self, with an underwhelming .184 average ( 7-for-38) at the plate, the Cats’ 7-8-9 hitters went 11-for-31 with a .355 combined batting average. To be fair, Evan White tallied four hits on the weekend in the number two spot. However, when sluggers Ka’ai Tom and Kyle Barrett failed to produce, guys like Thomas Bernal, Greg Fettes, Connor Heady, and Zach Arnold rose to the occasion. The 4-5-6 hitters held their own, batting .257, but the unlikely heroes were the story of the series.

 

Up next for the Cats is an in-state showdown with the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. in Louisville, followed by a three-game series versus No. 13 Vanderbilt next weekend at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

@STHowle


@KentuckyTrack

Kentucky Track & Field competes at 3 events over the weekend

 

@KentuckyTrack

@KentuckyTrack

The Kentucky Wildcats Track and Field teams competed at three events and locations over the weekend to wrap up the regular season. They competed at the University of California-San Diego’s Triton Invitational, the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Florida, as well as the Bellarmine Classic. Once again, several Wildcats finished with personal best and record breaking times. Here is a complete breakdown of the weekend:

The University of California-San Diego’s Triton Invitational:

  • Rebecca Famurewa won the discus throw with a distance of 181’5’’/55.29m and placed 3rd in the hammer throw with a distance of 208’0.825’’/63.65m.
  • Ray Dykstra finished 2nd in the javelin with a distance of 241’0.01’’/73.46, but finished the top collegian.
  • Bradley Szypka finished 7th overall in the shot put with a throw of 61.22, but finished as the No. 2 shot putter.
  • Adrianna Brown won the shot put with a distance of 50’0.79’’/15.48m.

Bellermine Classic:

  • Alisha Adair finished 1st in the 400m with a time of 56.49.

Tom Jones Memorial Invitational:

  • Kendra Harrison won the 100m hurdles with a time of 12.62, becoming the 6th fastest collegian ever.

The Wildcats will compete next weekend at the Kentucky Relays.

@PerkiliciousKSR


Wildcats Lose Three-Game Series to Bulldogs

Wildcats Lose Three-Game Series to Bulldogs

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Photo by UK Athletics

 

No. 17 Kentucky took on No. 14 Georgia in a three-game series this weekend at John Cropp Stadium. The Cats came in with 5-14 record in SEC play while the Bulldogs hold a 12-9 record. Despite the effort, Kentucky lost all three games to allow Georgia to take home the title.

On Friday, the Cats were defeated in a 3-0 sweep. Although the talented team failed to score, three players contributed hits. Sylver Samuel, Nikki Sagermann, and Brooklin Hinz provided the only plays for Kentucky. Defensively, Kelsey Nunley allowed seven hits and three runs.

In the second game of the series, the Wildcats played a close 6-4 match. Offensively, Rachael Metzger had one run and Griffin Joiner added a hit and a run. Sagermann contributed a hit, a run, and a RBI, while Maisie Steed provided a run, two hits, and three RBI. Christian Stokes also added two hits.

In the final game, Kentucky was defeated 8-4. Stokes and Steed each had one hit and one run while Joiner had two hits, two runs, and four RBI. Sagermann also added two hits. Defensively, Nunley allowed nine hits and eight runs.

The Cats will take on Tennessee in a three-game series at Knoxville, Tennessee this weekend.


Cats Clinch Series at No. 5 Florida With 7-6 Win

(Photo by Tim Casey, Florida)

(Photo by Tim Casey, Florida)

Led by starting pitcher Dustin Beggs and some uncommon offensive heroics, Kentucky (25-16, 10-9) clinched a colossal SEC series in Gainesville with a 7-6 win over No. 5 Florida. UK has won the series versus Florida for three consecutive seasons, which is the first time the Cats have done so since the 1973-75 seasons.

In a bit of a wacky start, UK jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Florida starter Dane Dunning’s misfortune was evident as Marcus Carson led off the inning with a swinging strikeout on a wild pitch, but safely advanced to first base. Dunning then hit the next three batters, bringing Carson home for the first run of the game. After another wild pitch scored Thomas Bernal, Evan White smacked a two-RBI double to left-center, scoring Connor Heady and Greg Fettes.

The Gators responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. With bases loaded and no outs, it looked as if Florida was poised for a big inning. However, Beggs kept his composure and surrendered just two sacrifice fly-outs before escaping the jam.

UK stretched the lead to 6-2 in the sixth inning after back-to-back homers by Fettes and Heady, their fourth and second bombs of the year, respectively. The Cats added another run in the seventh to take a 7-2 lead. After Dorian Hairston singled with one out and stole second with two outs, Bernal ripped a double down the left field line to score Hairston.

The Cats held a comfortable five-run lead heading to the bottom of the ninth, but Florida rallied to make things interesting. Kyle Cody came on in relief of Beggs after Josh Tobias led off the frame with a single and Harrison Bader lined out to right. Cody immediately gave up a double to Peter Alonso, scoring Tobias, but got Shwarz to ground out the following at-bat for the second out. Logan Salow then replaced Cody after another single and a walk loaded the bases. After plating a few more, Florida had the tying run on third and the winning run on second for Richie Martin. Attempting to surprise UK, Martin laid down a bunt, but Salow jumped off the mound and flipped the ball to Fettes at home plate for the final out.

While the game ended more dramatically than we might have liked, the Cats looked solid in some very important areas. Beggs had another outstanding performance, working 8.1 innings with six strikeouts and two walks, allowing six hits and three earned runs on a season-high 122 pitches. Salow looked good, as well, in stopping the Gators’ late rally and picking up his third save of the year. UK sluggers Ka’ai Tom and Kyle Barrett finally proved to be human, going a combined 0-for-9 at the plate, but the bottom of the order (Bernal, Fettes, Heady) was 4-for-8 with four RBI and five runs scored. UK also had multi-hit performances from White and Hairston.

The series will conclude Sunday at 12:30 p.m. as the Cats look to sweep an SEC opponent for a second consecutive weekend.

@STHowle


UK took the series-opener 3-0 at No. 5 Florida on Friday night (Photo by Tim Casey, Florida)

Kentucky vs. Florida: Game Two Primer

UK took the series-opener 3-0 at No. 5 Florida on Friday night (Photo by Tim Casey, Florida)

UK took the series-opener 3-0 at No. 5 Florida on Friday night (Photo by Tim Casey, Florida)

The No. 5 Florida Gators (32-11, 12-7) were blanked for the first time this season as Kentucky (24-16, 9-9) opened the three-game series in Gainesville with a 3-0 victory. The pitching staff, led by Zack Brown, was superb in game one, but the Cats can now solidify themselves as a serious threat in game two.

Today’s game is set for a 7 p.m. first pitch at McKethan Stadium and here is everything you need to know about the matchup:

  • UK came into the weekend ranked fourth in the SEC Eastern Division standings and 3.5 games back from first place. With a 9-9 overall conference record and a 4-3 division record, the Cats are still in fourth place after knocking off Florida. However, with the the top four teams in the East all playing each this weekend, UK can improve its standing with another win or two (no easy task).
  • Offensively, Kentucky and Florida have an identical .301 team batting average, which is near the top of the SEC team statistical rankings. The Gators boast much more power with 44 home runs on the season, while the Cats have just 19. Both teams have given up their fair share of homers, as Florida and Kentucky rank 13th and 14th, respectively, in the SEC with 32 and 37 home runs allowed.
  • Defensively, the two teams are polar opposites. Florida ranks first in the SEC with a .985 fielding percentage and just 25 errors, while Kentucky ranks next to last with a .965 percentage and 56 errors.
  • The game features some of the top sluggers in the SEC. UK’s Ka’ai Tom and Kyle Barrett and Florida’s Josh Tobias all rank in the top 10 in the conference in batting average, hitting .383, .368, and .359, respectively. In the RBI category, Tom (44) is joined by Gators JJ Shwarz (47) and Harrison Bader (43) in the top three of the SEC.
  • The tentative pitching matchup should be pretty even. UK will send junior righty Dustin Beggs to the mound, while Florida will start sophomore righty Dane Dunning. On the season, Beggs has a 5-2 record and a 2.78 ERA opposed to Dunning who is 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA.
  • You can catch all the action on SEC Network+, available via WatchESPN. Should be a good one so tune in.

@STHowle


UK Softball Game Start Time Moved

Per UK athletics the softball game today against Georgia has been moved from 3 p.m. to 1 p.m. The change in time is due to the inclement weather that is expected across the state today, as officials believe if the game starts at 1, the game will be done before the storm comes. Kentucky is looking to even up the series after losing 3-0 last night to the Bulldogs. It’s the last home series of the year for Kentucky, so make sure to get out to John Cropp Stadium and support them against Georgia.


Kentucky upset yet another top five team with their 3-0 win over Florida. (Photo by Tim Casey, UAA Communications)

Brown Leads Kentucky in Win Over #5 Florida

Zack Brown set the tempo for another exciting series. (Photo by UK Athletics)

Zack Brown set the tempo for another exciting series. (Photo by UK Athletics)

Zack Brown dominated once again, and Kentucky opened a three-game series with a 3-0 win against #5 Florida. The shutout victory was Kentucky’s fifth straight win, giving the Cats a 24-16 (9-9) record on the season. Brown, backed by Dorian Hairston’s two RBIs, pitched seven shutout innings to earn his fourth win on the year.

Facing off against the leaders in the SEC East, Kentucky grabbed the lead early. JaVon Shelby led the second inning off with a triple, and Dorian Hairston drove him in on an RBI groundout to give UK a 1-0 lead. Kyle Barrett and Evan White hit singles with two outs in the third to put runners on for Ka’ai Tom. With an RBI single to left, Tom gave Kentucky a 2-0 lead in the third. 

As Brown finished up his start on the mound, Kentucky’s offense gave their bullpen some insurance. Hairston collected his second RBI on the day with an eighth inning single to score White. All three of Kentucky’s runs were allowed by Florida starter Logan Shore.

Brown kept the Gators’ offense at bay by firing seven shutout innings and striking out six. Following Brown’s incredible start, Kentucky turned to Zach Strecker in the eighth inning. With a 3-0 lead, Strecker sat down the Gators in the eighth and sent the Cats to ninth. 

Three outs away from a win in the Swamp, things got a bit interesting. Strecker retired the first two batters of the ninth before walking Jeremy Vasquez. Gary Henderson went back to his bullpen to bring in closer Spencer Jack. Henderson would be forced to make yet another pitching change when Jack walked the only batter he faced. Logan Salow emerged from the bullpen and struck out Taylor Lane to end the game. 

Brown has propelled himself into the category of top weekend starters in the SEC. Following 7.1 shutout innings against Tennessee last week, Brown fired seven shutout innings against Florida. The sophomore struck out six and allowed only five hits against one of the top hitting teams in the nation. The dominant start lowered Brown’s ERA on the season to 2.81 in 11 games and a team-leading 67.1 innings. Brown has a scoreless streak of 15.1 innings over his last three games. 

Combining with Brown, the Kentucky bullpen helped to shut down one of the best offensive attacks in the nation. Player of the Year candidates Harrison Bader and JJ Schwarz combined to go one-for-seven at the plate with three strikeouts. The Gators left ten men on base and struck out nine times.

The Cats and Gators will continue their series tomorrow night at 7 p.m and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Catch both games on SEC Network+ and follow our recaps here.

 

@TreyHuntsmanKSR

 

 


Matthew Mitchell hires Dayton’s Camryn Whitaker as new UK Hoops assistant

If you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em? This afternoon, UK Hoops announce the hiring of Camryn Whitaker, a Kentucky native and former assistant coach at Dayton. Whitaker fills the void left by assistant coach Christian Stefanopoulos, who resigned in December.

Whitaker, a Cynthiana native, returns to Kentucky after three season at Dayton, where she helped the Flyers advance to their first-ever Elite Eight appearance this year and a 99-94 win over the Wildcats in the second round. Prior to Dayton, Whitaker was an assistant coach for one season at her alma mater, Western Kentucky University, while also stopping at Austin Peay for two years and Missouri State for three seasons to begin her coaching career.

“Camryn will be an outstanding addition to our staff,” Matthew Mitchell said in a release. “She is a coach that I’ve known for a long time and I have always been impressed with her energy and the power she has to connect with people. I have greatly admired her ability to develop players. She has been a very successful recruiter and her passion for Kentucky and her desire to make a difference in this program are qualities that I greatly appreciate. I know Camryn will help us be an extremely successful program going forward, and I look forward to working with her.”

“I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to coach at the University of Kentucky,” Whitaker said.  “To be home is a dream come true for me and I am so grateful to Coach Mitchell and the Kentucky family for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful community.  I think Kentucky is the best athletics program in the country, and I look forward to working with such a quality and high-level staff.  I truly bleed blue and am excited to join Big Blue Nation. It’s a great day to be a Wildcat.”

Welcome aboard, Camryn!


Wildcats Beat the Hilltoppers 1-0

Wildcats Beat the Hilltoppers 1-0

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Photo by UK Athletics

 

Kentucky took on Western Kentucky at John Cropp Stadium this afternoon in a midweek non-conference game. After nine close innings, the Cats won 1-0.

Although there were not many plays in the game, the Wildcats came out victorious in the ninth inning. Christian Stokes scored the run of the game and added a hit. Maisie Steed and Brooklin Hinz provided the other hits of the game. Defensively, Kelsey Nunley allowed six hits and zero runs.

Kentucky hopes to continue their luck in a three-game series on Friday against Georgia.


(Chet White, UK Athletics)

Coach Henderson Added to Team USA Staff

(Chet White, UK Athletics)

(Chet White, UK Athletics)

Gary Henderson, the head coach of Kentucky Baseball, was named as the pitching coach for the USA Collegiate National Team. Announced on Wednesday, Henderson will join LSU’s Paul Mainieri, San Diego’s Rich Hill and the head coach, St. John’s Ed Blankmeyer on the staff. The Collegiate National Team is consisted of the country’s best college baseball players.

The notoriety of being USA’s pitching coach could not have gone to a more deserving coach. Henderson has recruited and coached 13 pitchers who have been drafted into the MLB. This does not include 2014 National Player of the Year AJ Reed, who chose to be a first baseman after winning 12 games as a junior on the mound. Henderson coached top prospects and first round picks James Paxton and Alex Meyer before they went on to be named to the MLB Futures Game.

This is not the first time that the University of Kentucky has been involved with USA Baseball. Former Wildcat Austin Cousino played on the Collegiate Team and the 16U Team before being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2014. Former Cats Collin Cowgill and John Shelby both trained with the team, and Connor Heady played for the 16U team before coming to UK last season. Henderson joins John Cohen as the only Kentucky Baseball coaches to be on the staff for Team USA. 

Henderson will help coach Team USA this summer, but he still focused on the job at hand. Kentucky sits at 23-16 on the season and travels to Florida this weekend.

 

@TreyHuntsmanKSR


Kentucky Loses to In-State Rival

Kentucky Loses to In-State Rival

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Photo by UK Athletics

 

The No.17 Wildcats took on the Cardinals at John Cropp Stadium on Tuesday in a mid-week non-conference game. Although Kentucky put up a good fight, they lost 8-0 after a four-game winning streak against Louisville.

Cardinal pitcher, Maryssa Becker only allowed the Cats to pick up one run from Nikki Sagermann. Defensively, Shannon Smith started in the circle, allowing two runs, two hits, with four strikeouts. She was then replaced by Meagan Prince who allowed two runs and four hits. Erin Rethlake came in to get the final out of the fourth inning.

Kentucky takes on Western Kentucky University tonight at John Cropp Stadium.


Taylor Rogers was picked by the Twins from UK in 2012. (Photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)

Rogers and Meyer Dominant in Doubleheader

Taylor Rogers was picked by the Twins from UK in 2012. (Photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)

Taylor Rogers was picked by the Twins from UK in 2012. (Photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)

In a rare sequence of events, the Rochester Red Wings started two former Kentucky pitchers in one day. Alex Meyer started game one of a doubleheader for the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, while Taylor Rogers followed in game two. Both pitchers were brilliant on Tuesday, combining to not allow a run and strike out 17 in 12 innings.

Meyer took the ball in game one against the Syracuse Chiefs. The Twins’ top pitching prospect played at an incredible level on Tuesday night. Previously struggling with control problems, Meyer struck out 11 compared to walking three. Meyer’s 11 strikeouts tied a career-high. After not allowing a hit through the first three innings, Meyer allowed only two hits through his six shutout innings. Meyer left the game when the score was tied, so he did not factor into the decision.

Following Meyer’s impressive performance, Rogers followed with another solid outing. Rogers struck out six over six shutout innings. Similar to Meyer, Rogers showed an improvement in control. Rogers walked only one batter and scattered four hits in his first win of the season. The six shutout innings lowered Rogers’ ERA to 2.37 through three games in 2015. 

The Red Wings are on the #BBN train. Congrats to Meyer and Rogers on fantastic starts. 

 

@TreyHuntsmanKSR


(Photo by Scott Kurtz, Area Code Baseball)

Kentucky Recruit Gaining Steam in Rankings

(Photo by Scott Kurtz, Area Code Baseball)

(Photo by Scott Kurtz, Area Code Baseball)

Kentucky’s top recruit, Nick Plummer, is beginning to gain steam in the MLB Draft rankings and in recruiting rankings. Ranked as the 14th best 2015 MLB Draft prospect in the preseason, there is a chance that Plummer will climb into the top ten by season’s end. Plummer has been labeled as a “five tool player” by MLB.com who can literally do it all as a position player. This year’s notoriety comes from his success at the East Coast Showcase and Area Code Games last summer. Plummer collected seven hits in only thirteen at-bats against some of the best pitchers in the country. The left-handed hitting Plummer showed his power in both showcases by blasting home runs early in week.

“A Kentucky recruit, Plummer ranked No. 14 on MLBPipeline.com’s initial Draft Top 50 Prospects list in December, and he will move up slightly when our updated and expanded Top 100 is released next week. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has a rare combination of bat speed, pitch recognition and plate discipline for a high schooler, giving him the ability to hit for average and power from the left side of the plate. His biggest backers believe he has the instincts to remain in center field, while others think he’s destined for left field.” -MLB.com

With his rising stock, Plummer has continued to dominate in the state of Michigan. Plummer has hit .517 early in the season with only two strikeouts in 11 games. We hope to see Plummer in the blue and white next season.

@TreyHuntsmanKSR


Image from @UKBaseball

Cats Cruise to 6-1 Win Over Xavier

Image from @UKBaseball

Image from @UKBaseball

Kentucky (23-16) picked up its fourth straight win at the expense of the Xavier Musketeers Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Led by starting pitcher Kyle Cody and left fielder Ka’ai Tom, the Cats cruised to a 6-1 victory in a game that was never really in doubt.

UK’s bats were alive as the Cats jumped out to a comfortable 6-0 lead in the first four innings, including a three-run fourth inning sparked by Zach Arnold’s leadoff double. After Connor Heady was hit by a pitch, Kyle Barrett singled up the middle to score Arnold. Tom then returned the favor with a single of his own to drive in Barrett. Later, Storm Wilson drew a walk with the bases loaded, bringing in Evan White for the final run of the game.

Xavier is just 10-30 this season, but here are some key takeaways:

1. It was great to see Kyle Cody perform well on the mound. Cody was relieved of his duties as a weekend starter in the series sweep of Tennessee as he has had a less-than-stellar season thus far. However, the Cats could really benefit from Cody’s intimidating presence against SEC opponents in the coming weeks, so regaining some confidence is important. In his third win of the year, Cody finished tonight’s game with three strikeouts and one walk on 51 pitches in four shutout innings.

2. Ka’ai Tom is a problem for opposing pitchers. Also, the sky is blue and grass is green.   His two-out double in the first inning, leadoff single in the third, and RBI single in the fourth further proves that Tom is the catalyst for the Cats’ offense. Tom went 3-for-4 at the dish with one RBI, two runs scored, and a walk in the win and improved his season batting average to .386.

3. Now it gets real for Kentucky. The Cats desperately needed to build off the momentum of the Tennessee sweep with a convincing win over Xavier as they gear up for a stiff road trip to the Swamp to face No. 6 Florida (32-10, 12-6). The Gators have one of the deeper teams in America and are currently in first place in the SEC East standings. At 8-9 in SEC play, UK is only 3.5 games back from the division lead and could shake things up with a series win. But regardless of what happens in Gainesville, the Cats can’t blink as their postseason fate most likely hinges on how they perform against No. 13 Vanderbilt, Georgia, No. 14 Missouri, and a midweek matchup with No. 4 Louisville.

@STHowle


Photo from UK Athletics

Zach Logue Named SEC Freshman of the Week

Photo from UK Athletics

Photo from UK Athletics

After Kentucky’s historical sweep of Tennessee this weekend, southpaw Zach Logue was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday. The Cats notched its first SEC sweep since 2012 and swept the Vols at home for the first time in series history. Logue’s efficiency was superb as he worked just 3.2 innings in the series, earning a win and a save.

In the series-clinching win on Friday, Logue entered the game in the top of the ninth in relief of starter Dustin Beggs clinging to a three-run lead with runners on the corners and no outs. He immediately killed the late Tennessee rally by fielding a sharply hit grounder and starting a 1-4-3 double play, picking up his first save of the season.

Coach Henderson turned to his bullpen in the series finale on Saturday, benching the usual weekend starter Kyle Cody. Logue tossed 2.2 innings in his second win of the year, striking out two batters and surrendering only two hits and a walk on 41 pitches. On the season, Logue owns a 2-1 record and a 4.50 ERA in 28 innings and 13 games.

The Cats now turn their attention to a home game versus Xavier at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday before heading to Gainesville to face No. 6 Florida in a three-game series.

@STHowle