May 19, 2002

Box Score

The University of Kentucky baseball team took a 4-0 lead into the ninth inning, but Florida’s Ryan Shealy and Mark Kiger blasted a pair of homeruns to lift the Gators past the Wildcats, 5-4, at Cliff Hagan Stadium Sunday afternoon. Junior right-hander Joseph Blanton went 9.2 innings for the Cats before taking the loss on Senior Day and closing out the 2002 season as UK’s single-season strikeout leader with 133.

“It’s been fun to watch Joseph develop as a pitcher,” Coach Keith Madison said. “Like most young pitchers, he still has some growing to do, and he’ll get a chance to do that in professional baseball. He’s always been a special guy to me because he’s from my hometown and I played high school baseball with his dad. He gave this team a lot of great outings this year, and it’s a shame we couldn’t have supported him better in some games.”

Kentucky got on the board early when Brad Pickrell led off the game with a walk from UF starter Mike Pete. Gordon Tyler followed with a single to shallow center, advancing Pickrell and allowing him to come home off a stand-up double from Seth Morris to give Kentucky the early 1-0 edge.

Gordon Tyler knocked his third home run of the series out of the ballpark in the third inning to give UK a 2-0 lead heading into the fourth. Russ Rutherford countered with a solo shot of his own in the fifth, and a Mike Ferris chopper to second brought in Seth Morris in the seventh to put UK up four.

Blanton (5-7) started his 14th game on the mound for UK, striking out four of the first six Gator batters to break Brandon Webb’s single season record with his 124th K of the season. Blanton went on finish with 13 strikeouts in the game, also surpassing Jay Ray (1982-85) for fourth place on UK’s all-time strikeout list.

“I was here my freshman year when Brandon (Webb) set the record,” Blanton said. “I knew coming in I needed three to tie and four to break it. I was just trying to make good pitches and I racked up a few more than I needed.”

Blanton held the Gators scoreless for eight innings before Matt Goss singled to right field and Ryan Shealy knocked out his 15th homer of the season to cut the UK deficit to two. With two outs and two on, Mark Kiger hit a blast over the scoreboard in right field to bring in three runs for UF, the Gator’s first lead of the afternoon. Blanton was replaced by Scott Wade after the homerun and recorded the last out for UK.

UK     000      000     005       5   9   1UF     101      011     000       4   9   0

Win: Coleman (2-2)Loss: Blanton (5-7)Time: 3:06Attendance: 603

– UK –

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