A big third inning by Florida’s offense doomed Kentucky in the series opener. The top-ranked Gators used a six-run third inning against #6 UK’s bullpen to boost them to a 11-2 win on Thursday night.
The big inning came after Nick Mingione pulled starter Zach Haake after two perfect innings. Haake had struck out three without allowing a baserunner, but the coaching staff decided to go to the bullpen to save Haake’s arm for the remainder of the weekend.
The outcome of the decision would not be positive for the BatCats. Mason Hazelwood came on in relief and was back in the dugout shortly after. Florida hung a quick three runs on Hazelwood before UK went back to the bullpen for Alec Maley. Maley would struggle as well, allowing three runs before the inning mercifully ended with the Cats trailing 6-0.
That long inning would be the deciding factor. The BatCats would add two runs in the bottom of the fourth on a pair of RBIs by Luke Becker and Ben Aklinski, but Florida would continue to tack on late. The Gators added one run in the eighth and two runs in the ninth as they completed a dominating performance against UK’s bullpen.
UK’s pitching performance was the exact opposite of Florida’s on Friday. Brady Singer showed why he is one the top-ranked college pitchers in this year draft tonight. Singer struck out ten in seven innings of work tonight. The BatCats managed only four hits in the loss.
The questionable decision to lift Haake came back to bite the Cats as their bullpen surrendered eleven runs in seven innings. Florida got six runs on two hits in the big inning and took the series opener 11-2 over the BatCats.