Another highly-ranked opponent, another highly-impressive win for the Florida baseball team.
So it goes this spring for the No. 1 Gators, who continue to emphasize their status as the team to beat again this season.
Florida broke out for 6 runs in the top of the third inning Thursday night on the way to an 11-2 win over No. 6 Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
Among teams currently ranked in the latest D1Baseball.com national poll, Florida (33-7, 13-3 SEC) is now 2-1 vs. No. 3 Arkansas, 1-0 vs. the No. 6 Wildcats, 3-0 against No. 10 Vanderbilt and 3-0 against No. 18 Florida State (which was ranked higher at the time of the meetings).
After dropping a midweek contest Tuesday to Jacksonville, the Gators wasted little time asserting themselves on Thursday in a strong bounce-back performance.
It also helped having junior ace Brady Singer on the mound. Singer (8-1) was dominant while striking out 10, walking 1 and yielding 3 hits and 2 runs over seven innings. After giving up 2 runs in the bottom of the fourth, the hard-throwing right-hander retired 10 of the next 11 batters to end his night.
That was after being staked to a 7-0 lead.
“Brady was really good. He pitched really well early on and had a special fastball tonight and had command of his slider,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “… After we got the lead we continued to pitch well and play good defense and got some hits up and down the lineup.”
Deacon Liput started the scoring with a 2-run double to right center in the top of the third inning, Nelson Maldonado followed with an RBI sacrifice fly and two batters later Wil Dalton hit his SEC-leading 14th home run of the season, a 3-run shot to left.
— Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) April 20, 2018
The Gators pushed the lead to 7-0 in the top of the fourth on a fielder’s choice RBI off the bat of Liput.
Freshman Brady Smith later added a 2-run homer, his second of the year, as part of the offensive onslaught.
Smith was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs, Dalton finished 2 for 5 with 3 RBI and 2 runs and Liput was 2 for 6 with 3 RBI and a run.
Brady Smith, my goodness. pic.twitter.com/pnhmThzOpr
— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) April 20, 2018
The only downside of the night for Florida was the end of third baseman Jonathan India’s 24-game hitting streak. He finished 0 for 3 with 2 walks and a run. The junior, a candidate for national player of the year, hit .513 with 16 multi-hit games, 8 homers and 21 RBI during the streak.
The series continues Friday night at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.