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  • Kentucky v. Florida, Game 3 - Saturday

    It worked yesterday starting the Game Thread extra early, so baseball is a game of superstition and I'm not going to buck that trend.

    Game today is slated for a 2 PM ET first pitch. I am hopeful that Kentucky clinched a hosting spot in the NCAA Regional with the win last night, and will remain in contention for a top 8 National Seed if we can pull off a series win against top 3 Florida by winning today.

    I thought we might jump back to #1 in college baseball's RPI with the win last night, but Wake Forest remains number one. They have an outstanding record at 45-8 (ACC 22-6), and are well deserving of that #1 spot, but I like the bragging rights and hope that we can overtake them today.

    Florida will attempt to win the SEC Division East championship today with a win or a Vanderbilt loss. In addition, with a win and both an Arkansas loss and and LSU loss, they will have the best record in the SEC overall. Either way, they have clinched a top 4 first day bye in the SEC tournament next week.

    Speaking of the SEC tournament next week, the top foresees are already determined: Arkansas, LSU, Florida and Vanderbilt. Kentucky is in the running for the #5 seed:

    5. South Carolina 15-12
    6. Kentucky 16-13
    6. Auburn 16-13
    8. Tennessee 15-13
    9. Alabama 16-14

    I do not know how all of the permutations play out for tiebreakers, but with a Kentucky win in a South Carolina loss, we will do no worse than tie for the #5 seed. That doesn't do a whole lot for us but it would have us playing the #12 seed on Day 1 of the tournament. That will be either Georgia (28-26) or Missouri (30-22), both of whom sport 10-19 SEC records. They are still good teams, though.

    Our possible opponents on Day 1 include:

    Ė Georgia or Missouri, if we win today and/or managed to get the #5 or #6 seed.
    Ė Texas A&M (31-23, SEC 13-16) if we get the #7 seed.
    Ė After that, we get into the teams that are listed above that are in contention for the #5 or #6 seed. And when you look at those teams, they are all teams you want to avoid in the SEC tournament Ė Alabama is red-hot, plus they would be playing "at home,"; Auburn pretty much the same. The non-home teams (Tennessee and South Carolina) are top-notch teams and difficult opponents.

    Anyway, some things to chew on while we wait for the game to start today.
    Comments 52 Comments
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Strickland may be ready to throw a lot of innings today, but I have to believe that the Kentucky staff is planning on a bullpen by committee today. Take a look at our pitching roster, and subject to injuries, illnesses, or other of which I am unaware, we seem to have the following available for possible extended innings:

      Tyler Bosma, normal Saturday starter. 51.1 innings, 55 hits, 22 walks, 35 strikeouts, 5.61 ERA.
      Jackson Nove. 21.0 innings, 17 hits, 13 walks, 24 strikeouts, 3.86 ERA.
      Ryan Hagenow. 20.2 innings, 18 hits, 8 walks, 30 strikeouts, 3.48 ERA. He saw limited action Thursday night.
      Logan Martin. Not sure his status but he started the season as one of our key weekend starters, but has only started 6 games and seen no relief appearances. In those 6 appearances, he threw 20.1 innings, 17 hits, 11 walks, 24 strikeouts, 4.43 ERA.

      There are plenty of other pitchers we might see including ones we have not yet seen this weekend: Colby Frieda, Seth Chavez, Seth Logue, and Zach Hise, among others. I feel like we need extended innings from 1 or 2 of the ones above these for us to have a good shot at winning today, though.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Strickland gets a line out, a strike out, a double from Florida's two-way player who is pitching today, and a pop up and no damage done in the top of the first.

      M1 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Jackson Gray leads off, takes two consecutive balls and I'm thinking that this may be a day when Caglianone is wild. He then comes back with three consecutive strikes to strike him out.

      He then jumps ahead of Waldschmidt, 1-2 and my hopes for a super wild days seem to be dashed already. Maybe that happens when he gets tired. Waldschmidt flies out for out #2. Gilliam up, and Kentucky seems to have gotten the memo to try to work the count. Gilliam walks on 5 pitches. First three batters have all worked the pitcher to 5 pitches. Pitre batting in the second (and final) lefty v lefty matchup in Kentucky's batting order today and grounds out.

      E1 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Three ground outs and an easy inning for Strickland. He is wheeling and dealing today.

      M2 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Burkes leads it off and he has been red-hot. He is followed by Church – earlier I said I thought it was the same lineup is yesterday, and now that I think about it, Felker and Church have switch positions in the lineup today. Church had a really good day yesterday, as did Burkes, so I guess we wanted to pack them back to back, which is a pretty good move. Felker will follow.

      Burkes takes two balls and I'm glad to see us do that. There's a double down the left-field line and we have a runner in scoring position and nobody out. Hot dog. Church up, strikes out. Dang. I thought about the possibility of sacrificing him but Church has been so hot you wanted to let him swing. Out #1.

      Burkes steals third and we now have the initial run only 90 feet away. Felker bunts, goes to the pitcher and Burkes is out at the plate. Crap. McCoy strikes out.

      E2 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Well, let's see about shrugging off that out at the plate. Strickland has been on the mark so far.

      First batter up, strikes out on 4 pitches. Like to see that. Ball in the dirt and Burks threw him out at first.

      Next batter strikes out looking on 3 pitches. Being efficient here.

      Can this be an easy inning? Yes, it is, as a ground ball is hit to Grant Smith at shortstop on the third pitch and that's out #3. By the way, Grant had a couple of very good plays last inning at shortstop. I'm starting to take that for granted, and I shouldn't.

      M3 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Strickland has been extremely efficient in the first three innings, throwing only 30 pitches, 24 for strikes. That's exactly what the doctor ordered today. Fingers crossed that continues.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Smith leads off, takes two balls and flies out. Gray strikes out again – not sure he likes that lefty the lefty matchup. Waldschmidt flies out. Disappointed that Smith swung on a 2-0 pitch, and Waldschmidt swung on a 1-0 pitch, but we, pretty aggressive at the plate, I guess.

      E3 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      2-3-4 in the order for Florida. Keep your fingers crossed and hold your breath.

      Ground ball to Grant Smith at shortstop on a full count and he throws another one out. Caglianone is hit by the pitch on a full count. I guess if you're going to hit somebody, you should hit the pitcher. Caglianone steals second, and there's the first real threat for the Gators. Full count on the next batter (third consecutive full count) and he pops up on the infield. Full count on the next batter (fourth consecutive full count) and he strikes out looking. Good job from Strickland, but not quite as efficient that inning.

      M4 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      24 pitches for Strickland that inning and his pitch count is now up to 54. I bet if you had asked the coaching staff what they hope to get out of Strickland today, they would've been ecstatic with 4 innings, but he has pitched so well, I'm hoping we get 7 or 8.

      The bigger problem seems to be that we need to score some runs.
    1. BigBlue92's Avatar
      BigBlue92 -
      Thanks, Darrell. This is great stuff. I havenít paid much attention to UK baseball, but am following now (I mean both the late-season run and todayís game) from Texas and appreciate it! Go Cats!
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Great, BB92. Hope the Lone Star State treats you well, and Kentucky continues to play well headed to postseason play. Love me some good Kentucky baseball.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Gilliam will lead it off, and he again walks, on 5 pitches. Pitre at the plate, bunts and pops it up. Pitcher grabs it, then throws it away trying to double Gilliam off base and he moves to second, so it basically worked like the sacrifice should have worked. Disappointed, though that we have attempted two fundamental baseball play bunts, and both of them failed at the core.

      1 out, and we have red-hot Burkes and Church coming up next. Burkes at the plate, strikes out swinging on 4 pitches. Church at the plate, in the hole, 0-2. Fouls off a pitch. Takes a ball. Fouls off another. He's battling, come on, Reuben. Strikes out.

      E4 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Caglianone has been spectacular today for Florida, as we feared. He has thrown 4.0 innings, allowing only 1 hit, walking 2, while striking out 6 and twirling a shut out. His pitch count is not high yet, at 57. Would love to see us do some damage against him next inning and get him out of the game before the last four innings.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      As spectacular as Caglianone has been, Strickland has matched him.

      First batter up takes two balls, but then flies out. Next batter strikes out swinging. Next batter for Florida grounds the first pitch to Pitre at second who throws him out.

      Great job again by Strickland and another efficient inning.

      M5 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Kentucky will have 7-8-9 at the plate this inning. My hopes are that we run the pitch count up this inning, Caglianone gets a little sloppy or something like that.

      Felker will lead it off. He attempted a squeeze bunt in the first inning that was unsuccessful, as Burkes was out at the plate. He hits a ground ball to the third baseman, who throws him out first.

      McCoy at the plate. He struck out in his first at-bat. Runs the count full, and I like to see that. There's a base hit to left field and we have a base runner.

      Smith at the plate, in the hole, 1-2. McCoy takes off, and is thrown out trying to steal. Man, that's our game but that's three fundamental baseball plays, all of which have failed today.

      Nobody on base now and two outs. Count runs full. Smith walks. Yes, that would have moved McCoy to second but who knows?

      Jackson Gray at the plate, and although he doesn't like this matchup, he's too good of a player to be shut down. He has struck out twice in two plate appearances. How about a big time double here, Jackson?

      I'm starting to get to the point of the game where my palms get a little sweaty. Gray takes the first three pitches, all balls. Now a full count. There's a chopper, Gray beats it out and we have two runners on, two outs for Ryan Waldschmidt.

      Waldschmidt has flied to center field and flied to right field. How about a fly ball deep enough to go over the wall? Nope, grounded to third who steps on the bag.

      E5 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Caglianone is still fine on a pitch count, but we did run the pitch count up a little that inning, moving from 57 to 81. He will face 3-4-5 next inning, and hoping that he is getting tired. He has been really good today, allowing 3 hits, 3 walks, and striking out 6 but seem to be tiring a little this past inning. Maybe that's wishful thinking.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Strickland will face 9-1-2 for Florida this inning.

      Strikes out the leadoff batter on 3 pitches. Next up is the true leadoff hitter, and he grounds out on 2 pitches. The very dangerous Langford is at the plate, and Strickland has him in the hole, 1-2. Strikes out swinging. Great inning.

      M6 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Okay boys, time to do some damage. The next four batters for Kentucky – Gilliam, Pitre, Burkes, Church have been very good. Let's see if we can do something this inning.

      Gilliam will lead it off, and he has walked twice. Caglianone still on the mound for Florida. Fans Gilliam on three pitches. Pitre up next, and he is 0-2 on the day. Strikes out looking. Caglianone doesn't seem to be getting tired after all, does he? That's his eighth strike out today.

      Devin Burkes at the plate, flies out on the first pitch.

      E6 | Kentucky 0, Florida 0
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Unfortunately, we didn't even run up Caglianone's pitch count much that inning. He is at 90 pitches, probably has another inning in him.