UK Baseball Ties Florida In Series Finale, 6-6
April 9, 2000
LEXINGTON, Kty. - The University of Kentucky baseball team played to a 6-6, nine-inning tie in their series finale with Florida on Sunday under blue skies at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Due to the flight schedule for Florida, a rule was imposed in which a new inning could not start after 3:15 p.m. EDT. With the deadline having just passed, Gator center fielder Tim Olson made a diving catch on Beau Moore's sinking line drive with the bases loaded and two outs to end UK's hopes of taking the final game of the series. Olson, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high 22 games with a fourth inning single, went 2-for-4 and scored three runs on the afternoon.
Kentucky ends the series with a record of 25-8-1, 5-8-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Florida returns to Gainesville with a 26-14-1 mark, 9-5-1 in the SEC.
After watching the Gators make all of the offensive explosions in the first two games of the series, the Wildcats were the aggressors at the plate in the early going on Sunday off Florida starter Joey Simon. UK out-hit the Gators 6-1 through the first three innings, taking a 3-0 lead. Andy Green gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the third with an RBI double down the left field line, scoring Jeff Meade who had singled. Beau Moore then muscled up for his second home run of the season and the first by a UK batter in six games. The five-game homerless drought stands as a season-long for the Cats.
Simon lasted four innings, allowing three runs (earned) on seven hits.
UK starter Scott Wade was victimized by his defense in the fourth as Florida scored two unearned runs with two outs, narrowing the score to 3-2. Pete Nystrom and Tim Olson pulled one-out singles through the hole between short and third just out of the reach of diving UK third baseman Vince Harrison. Olson's hit extended his career-high hitting streak to 22 games. After a ground out to first base moved both runners up one base, a ground ball by Aaron Sobieraj went through Harrison's legs and brought both runners home.
Wade pitched effectively for five-plus inning, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out four. He faced the first two hitters in the sixth. That final hitter was catcher Tony Sacarras, whose tenth home run of the season gave Florida a 4-3 lead. After Olson singled off reliever Josh Paxton leading off the eighth and left-hander Breck Price relieved Paxton, Sacarras extended the lead to 6-3 with another two-run blast. Sacaras, 2-for-5 with four RBI on the day, leads the Gators with 11 home runs, tying him with UK's John Wilson for 3rd in the SEC.
The Cats rallied to tie the game with three runs in the eighth, all credited to reliver Kenny Birch. Price led off the inning with a double to right center. After Brad Pickrell ran for Price and Harrison walked, a pinch-hit double by Gordon Tyler drew the Cats to within two runs. With freshman Aaron Sobieraj coming into pitch from third base, UK tied the game without another hit. Jeff Meade, who made one of UK's five errors in the game, drove in Harrison with a sacrifice fly with Tyler scoring the sixth run on a wild pitch.
Florida threatened again in the ninth, putting men on first and second base with no outs off of Price, but Jon Hooker came on to strike out the only three men he faced.
In the ninth, lead-off man Dax O'Daniel reached on a walk and Harrison flew to center, before Taylor McInnis, a defensive substitution entering the game with a .077 batting average, put runners on the corners with a flair to center that landed for a single. Meade then struck out and Green was intentionally walked to load the bases, leading up to Moore's at-bat at the deadline.
The game marks UK first tied ballgame since the series finale of the season-opening trip to Stetson University in 1997. That game ended prematurely with the score tied 7-7 because UK had to catch its flight. Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday against Eastern Kentucky in the second-to-last game of UK's 10-game homestand. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. EDT.