Behind a dominant performance by Justin Lewis, #6 Kentucky beat #1 Florida (34-8, 14-4) 3-2 to take the final game of the series. UK had dropped three in a row before taking the series finale against the top-ranked Gators.
Florida had no problem scoring runs in the first two games of the series against Kentucky, but Justin Lewis quieted the powerful Gator offense in the finale. Lewis struck out eleven in seven innings to lead the Cats to the series finale win.
As the game got underway, it appeared that Lewis would see the same fate as Sean Hjelle did last night. Hjelle loaded the bases in the third inning last night and Lewis followed by loading the bases in the first inning today. The only difference between the two was Lewis flipped a switch and wiggled out of the jam. The Georgia-native proceeded to strike out two men and get an inning-ending pop-up to end the threat.
The bases-loaded threat in the top of the first would be the closest the Gators would come to scoring multiple runs against Lewis. UF would not collect another hit against Lewis after Deacon Liput’s leadoff double in the first inning. Lewis w
The UK offense gave Lewis just enough run support for him to feel confident on the mound. The BatCats scored one run in each of the first three innings as they chased Florida pitcher Tyler Dyson in the third inning. Troy Squires, Luke Heyer, and Ben Aklinski all drove in runs as the Cats jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings.
Dyson, a projected first-round pick in 2019, gave way to Jack Leftwich on the mound in the third inning. Leftwich would go on to pitch six scoreless innings in relief.
Leftwich was fantastic, but Justin Lewis was just a little better. Lewis allowed one unearned run in the fifth inning, but the Gators had no other answer for the junior right-handed pitcher. With a dominating changeup, Lewis tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts against the top-ranked Gators.
Lewis threw 119 pitches in the gutsy victory. He would hand the ball over to Chris Machamer for the ninth. In his first outing since last Saturday against Georgia, Machamer allowed one run on a solo home run by JJ Schwarz with two outs before inducing a game-ending groundout from Austin Langworthy.
Lewis’ performance was one for the books against Florida. In his last four starts, Lewis has six runs in 31.2 innings with 32 strikeouts. His performance today saved the Cats from a bad sweep at home.