GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Zack Brown extended his streak of shutout innings pitched to 15.1 with seven strong frames and three relievers combined to pitch the final two innings, pacing Kentucky to a 3-0 win over No. 5 Florida – the first shutout of the Gators on the year – in front of 3,516 on Friday night at McKethan Stadium.
Kentucky (24-16, 9-9 Southeastern Conference) rode the strong pitching effort from Brown, who worked 7.1 shutout frames last week in a win over Tennessee, before blanking the red-hot Gators, who entered the series leading the SEC in runs scored. It marked the first time in a 44-game span that the Gators were shutout and marked the first UK win in a series opener in Gainesville since 2007.
Brown (4-4) worked seven innings, allowing only five hits – four singles – walking two and striking out six. He extended his streak of scoreless innings pitched to 15.1, a start after working seven shutout innings for a win over Tennessee. Brown, who worked his sixth quality start of the year, now has a 2.81 ERA in 67.1 innings, allowing only 59 hits and striking out 53.
Righty Zach Strecker took over to start the eighth, working around a two-out walk and getting two outs in the ninth. Senior Spencer Jack attempted to get the final out but a full-count walk brought in lefty Logan Salow. Salow got a strikeout of pinch hitter Taylor Lane to pick up his second save of the year and the third of his career.
The Wildcats got hits from every member of their lineup, with freshman first baseman Evan White turning in a 2-for-4 game. Dorian Hairston drove in two runs, with Ka’ai Tom also charting a RBI two-out knock. UK got hits from Kyle Barrett, JaVon Shelby, Marcus Carson, Thomas Bernal, Zach Arnold, Greg Fettes and Connor Heady. Shelby extended his reached base safely streak to 14 straight games and White stretched his hitting streak to eight games.
Florida (32-11, 12-7 SEC) starter Logan Shore (6-3) worked 7.1 strong innings, allowing nine hits and three runs, not issuing a walk and striking out seven. Lefty Kirby Snead took over in the eighth inning with a runner on and one out, getting the left-handed hitter. Taylor Lewis then came on to get the final out in the eighth, allowing an RBI single to stretch the lead before escaping the jam. Shaun Anderson came on to work the ninth inning.
The series will resume on Saturday at 7 p.m. at McKethan Stadium.
The Wildcats got on the board first in the second inning, as Shelby led off with a triple, dropped into shallow rightfield, just off the glove of diving second baseman Dalton Guthrie. Dorian Hairston then chopped a two-strike grounder up the middle, allowing Shelby to score.
Kentucky added a run in the third inning, as Barrett singled to rightfield with two outs and White followed with a two-strike single the opposite way. Tom then spanked a RBI knock down the leftfield line, scoring Barrett for a two-run UK lead.
UK got an insurance run in the eighth inning, as White singled with one out to chase Shore. After a strikeout in a lefty-lefty matchup, UF brought in a right-hander to face Shelby, with UK’s second baseman drawing a walk. Hairston then singled up the middle to score White and stretch UK’s lead to 3-0.