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Florida 6, Kentucky 5: Gators baseball advances to 2014 SEC Tournament final

Florida finally got over the hump against their greatest challenge in the SEC in 2014.


Florida's men's basketball team made a clean sweep of vaunted Kentucky in 2013, winning games over the ballyhooed Wildcats away and home and in the SEC Tournament. Florida's football team, despite its 4-8 season, continued its decades-long win streak over the Wildcats in the fall.

Florida's baseball team, however, struggled against the 'Cats, yielding runs in bunches to their powerful bats and winning just once in four games against Kentucky entering Saturday's 2014 SEC Tournament semifinal.

But for just the second time in five tries on the baseball diamond this year, Florida prevailed over Kentucky on Saturday.

Florida's 6-5 win did not lack for dramatics: The lead changed hands three times between the fifth and eighth innings, with Florida first rallying back from a 3-0 deficit for a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth, Kentucky striking back with a two-run sixth inning to take back the lead, and Florida finishing the scoring on the day with the game-tying and game-winning runs in the seventh and eighth.

And it was a day of singles doing damage for the Gators. Casey Turgeon began Florida's scoring with an RBI single in the third inning. Harrison Bader put Florida on top with a two-run single in the fifth. Richie Martin singled and stole second in the seventh, allowing him to score the game-tying run on another RBI single by Bader. Ryan Larson singled and advanced to third on a single by Buddy Reed in the eighth, then came home on a Josh Tobias single.

Florida rattled off 12 hits on the evening, dinging each of Kentucky's four pitchers for at least one run, but had just two extra-base hits, both doubles (Bader and Tobias, both swinging the bat very well over the last week, had one each) — and only one of those two factored in the scoring.

This was smallball, and the Gators' brand of it, lovingly called Sullyball, has made the most of Florida's light-hitting lineup and fantastic pitching this season, running up an extraordinary 16-6 record in one-run games. On Saturday, it frustrated the Gators' most consistently frustrating foe on the year, and into a Sunday SEC Tournament final.