[Moderated by Matt Jones]
There’s not many “must win” games in baseball, but tonight’s Game 2 affair with the Florida Gators was about as important of a game for Kentucky as there possibly could be. The Cats, in the midst of a 3-game skid (the longest of the season), were already down a game in the series and playing for a chance at a rubber match series finale on Saturday.
Florida jumped ahead early with a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Jerad Grundy would cruise by the Gators the rest of the way, not allowing another baserunner to reach 2nd base again until the top of the 8th. The problem for Grundy, however, was that both of those runners scored, and UK stranded baserunners all night long. After tying up the game at 1 after a Luke Maile RBI single in the bottom of the first, UK would continue to hit the rest of the game but struggled to cross the plate. The Cats stranded two baserunners in the 1st, 2nd, and 6th innings while leaving the bases loaded in the 5th and scoring no runs.
The Gators added 3 insurance runs in the top of the 9th, adding to their 2-1 lead. To put it simply, the Gators were able to capitalize on scoring opportunities tonight and UK was not. The Cats left 10 runners on base compared to only 4 for Florida, as the Gators claimed Game 2 of the series by a final score of 5-1.
Fortunately, the schedule is easier the rest of the way after tomorrow’s series finale with Florida. Even though the series is lost, tomorrow’s game still has much importance. With a win Saturday, UK can still hold a 1 game lead over Florida in the SEC East. At 36-11 and 14-9 in the SEC, and on a 4 game losing streak, the pressure is on for the Cats for really the first time all year to bounce back and start playing well again before heading into postseason play.
I’ll be on hand at Cliff Hagan Stadium tomorrow as the Cats try to keep their lead in the SEC East. Follow me on Twitter @wilmhoffKSR.
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