The fourth-ranked Florida Gators erupted for 13 hits and 10 runs through the first four innings, including seven consecutive hits in a seven-run fourth inning, to defeat Kentucky 19-3 in Gainesville on Sunday and claim a part of the Southeastern Conference championship.
Kentucky starter Corey Littrell (6-6) suffered the loss, going 31⁄3 innings, allowing 10 hits and eight runs — seven earned — walking two and striking out two. The Wildcats (25-30, 8-22 SEC) planned to start sophomore right-hander Jordan Cooper, but Cooper, home run leader Luke Maile and reserve infielder Tyler Townsend got food poisoning after a postgame meal Thursday night, and spent the season finale resting at the hotel.
The loss kept the Wildcats from claiming its first series in Gainesville since the 1999 season. UK posted a 14-1 win over Florida on Friday night, the largest win over the Gators in program history, but struggled to score runs Saturday despite banging out 14 hits against Florida pitchers. Taylor Black went 3-for-4, Chad Wright was 3-for-5 and Neiko Johnson 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Florida starter Karsten Whitson (7-0), the ninth overall pick out of high school in the 2010 Major League Draft, went five innings, allowing seven hits and one run.
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Florida (41-15, 22-8 SEC) wrapped up a share of the SEC title, joining Vanderbilt and South Carolina atop the standings.