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.