The No. 6 UK Baseball team will prepare to host the No. 1 Florida Gators for a three-game series this Thursday, Friday and Saturday In Lexington, Kentucky. All three games will be played at Cliff Hagan Stadium, the home of the Kentucky Wildcats.
What to know about the weekend matchup
Coming off of a loss in the midweek matchup against rival UofL, the Cats lost a bit of momentum that would have been beneficial as the Cats prepare to take on the 2017 National Champions. The Gators also lost their midweek game, ending their winning streak.
The series will open on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. Friday’s game will have a 7:30 p.m. first pitch and Saturday’s is scheduled for 1 p.m. at The Cliff. Games one and two will be featured on the SEC Network.
How has it played out in the past?
This is arguably the biggest series the Cats have had this season. In conference play at home, UK is 4-2. They dropped the second game in both the Auburn and South Carolina sets.
A defining moment for the team was this past weekend in Georgia when they won their first SEC series on the road this season. The two wins were very hard-fought, showing that UK has what it takes to go all the way.
Although the Cats fell to the Cardinals on Tuesday, head coach Nick Mingione says the win does not hurt more than any other would and that his team can flush the loss and move on.
The Gators have been ranked No. 1 for seven straight weeks but the Cats have performed well at home and won the series when the Gators last made the trip to Lexington in 2016. Florida leads 138-67 all-time and have been very successful under 10-year head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.
Florida is a club that Kentucky has always had to be very cautious with and as always, pitching will be of the utmost importance this weekend. Florida has always been known as a strong team defensively but this year they have another edge. They are an offensive powerhouse for the first time in years.
The Cats will count on their bats this weekend in a series that promises to draw significant fan turnout from both sides. Florida fans are very loyal and there will definitely be some orange mixed in with the blue and white.
The atmosphere should play in UK’s favor but no matter the victor, it will be a great matchup between two top-ten teams, both of which have players expected to be chosen in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft.
THURSDAY: UK – Zach Haake (Jr., RHP) vs. UF – Brady Singer (Jr., RHP)
FRIDAY: UK – Sean Hjelle (Jr., RHP) vs. UF Jackson Kowar (Jr., RHP)
SATURDAY: UK – Justin Lewis (Jr., RHP) vs. UF Tyler Dyson (So., RHP)