Florida eliminates UK in SEC semifinals

May 24, 2014 

  • SEC baseball finals: LSU vs. Florida

    When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday

    TV: ESPN2

    NCAA selection show

    When: Noon Monday


HOOVER, Ala. — Top-seeded Florida rallied for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and beat Kentucky 6-5 in a back-and-forth Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinal on Saturday.

It was the first loss in this tournament for Kentucky and kept the Cats from reaching the championship game for the first time in school history.

"I am really proud of our kids on how they played during our four games here," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "We just were short."

Kentucky (35-23), which won its first three games in the tournament, will learn Monday whether it has made the NCAA Tournament. The selection show starts at noon on ESPNU.

"We feel like we are a team that no one wants to face right now," said UK star A.J. Reed, who reached base Saturday for the 54th time in 58 games this season. "Our last conference series in Georgia and our four games here, we played really well. We have some momentum going into the regionals. We are excited to see where we go."

Kentucky led 3-0 Saturday before Florida rallied for two runs in the third inning and two runs in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead.

UK answered with two runs in the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead.

The Gators tied it with a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning, then scored the go-ahead run on a two-out RBI single in the eighth.

Max Kuhn went 2-for-4 for UK with a pair of RBI doubles down each line. Austin Cousino went 1-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and a steal. Ka'ai Tom added a pair of hits and an RBI. Reed went 0-for-3 but walked once and was hit by a pitch.

UK was seeking its fourth win over Florida in five games this season.

The Cats opened the tournament with wins over No. 24 Alabama, No. 7 Florida and No. 17 Mississippi State. UK's 3-1 tournament record was its best in school history.

Making his first career start, freshman lefty Logan Salow worked 21⁄3 innings, allowing three hits and two runs. Taylor Martin, Andrew Nelson and Chandler Shepherd (5-4) worked in relief.

Florida reliever Eric Hanhold (4-3) pitched 31⁄3 scoreless innings to get the win. He allowed two hits, struck out four and didn't walk a batter.

Florida broke a 5-5 tie in the eighth inning against Shepherd.

Ryan Larson and Buddy Reed hit two-out singles. Josh Tobias then singled to right field to score Larson and give the Gators a 6-5 lead.

UK's first three batters of the game reached base against Florida freshman Brett Morales. Kuhn's double down the left-field line scored Cousino, and Reed reached on an error by Morales.

The early rally was curtailed by what appeared to be a bad call by first-base umpire David Savage when Reed was doubled off first after a Ka'ai Tom lineout to second. Replays showed Reed was safe as Henderson came out to argue with the umpire.

Micheal Thomas followed with a single, and Storm Wilson's strikeout ended the inning.

In the ninth, UK had the potential tying run at second base with two outs, but Wilson grounded to second.

LSU routs Razorbacks 11-1

Kyle Bouman carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and LSU (43-14-1) hit three home runs to advance into the title game with an 11-1 victory over Arkansas.

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