UK Baseball

Kentucky at Florida baseball preview

What: Three-game series

Where: Alfred A. McKethan Stadium

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 4 p.m. Saturday

Radio: All games on WLAP-AM 630

Rankings: UK unranked; Florida No. 11 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 13 (Baseball America)

Series: Gators lead 123-53-1

Last season: UK won series 2-1 at Cliff Hagan Stadium

Possible lineups

Kentucky

LF: Chad Wright (.324 avg, 37 R, 3 HR, 21 RBI); 3B: Andy Burns (.285, 36 R, 6 HR, 29 RBI); 2B: Chris Bisson (.373, 48 R, 2 HR, 51 RBI); 1B: Gunner Glad (.320, 25 R, 9 HR, 38 RBI); SS: Chris Wade (.314, 40 R, 6 HR, 42 RBI); CF: Keenan Wiley (.257, 27 R, 4 HR, 22 RBI); DH: Braden Kapteyn (.318, 16 R, 4 HR, 25 RBI); C: Marcus Nidiffer (.304, 32 R, 7 HR, 27 RBI); RF: Bryan Rose (.268, 13 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI)

Florida

LF: Avery Barnes (.351 avg, 56 R, 8 HR, 37 RBI); SS: Mike Mooney (.336, 34 R, 2 HR, 19 RBI); 1B: Preston Tucker (.350, 36 R, 11 HR, 65 RBI); 2B: Josh Adams (.332, 48 R, 7 HR, 39 RBI); CF: Matt den Dekker (.315, 56 R, 5 HR, 29 RBI); 3B: Brandon McArthur (.312, 20 R, 1 HR, 31 RBI); RF: Jonathan Pigott (.346, 15 R, 2 HR, 19 RBI); DH: Teddy Foster (.299, 16 R, 5 HR, 17 RBI); C: Buddy Munroe (.293, 20 R, 5 HR, 23 RBI)

Probable starting pitchers

Thursday: UK, LHP James Paxton (5-2, 5.30 ERA); Florida, LHP Stephen Locke (3-1, 5.08 ERA)

Friday: UK, LHP Chris Rusin (6-4, 3.96 ERA); Florida, RHP Anthony DeScalfani (5-2, 3.81 ERA)

Saturday: UK, RHP Alex Meyer (1-4, 5.27 ERA); Florida, TBA

Series notes

■ The Cats are 9th in the SEC and 11/2 games behind Vanderbilt going into the final weekend of conference play. The top eight teams go to the SEC Tournament. To make the tournament, UK would need either a sweep of Florida and at least two Vanderbilt losses to Tennessee or two wins at Florida and a Tennessee sweep of Vanderbilt.

The Commodores will not have to make up their rained-out game against Arkansas from earlier in the season, even if it would have a bearing on who advances to the SEC Tournament.

■ First-year UK coach Gary Henderson was an assistant coach at Florida from 1995-98.

■ Former Lexington Catholic standout Nick Maronde is wrapping up his freshman season at Florida. Maronde is 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in eight starts and 16 appearances. He has struck out 45 batters in 50 innings pitched.

■ Florida first baseman Preston Tucker is on the verge of breaking Owensboro native Brad Wilkerson's school record for RBI by a freshman. Tucker has 65 RBI through 51 games, three RBI shy of Wilkerson's 68 from the 1996 season.

Herald-Leader Staff Report

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