Fight Like Wildcats: No. 4 Kentucky Rallies for Thrilling Victory

Fight Like Wildcats: No. 4 Kentucky Rallies for Thrilling Victory

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 4 Kentucky battled valiantly, overcoming significant adversity to rally for a thrilling 12-11, 10-inning victory at Condron Family Ballpark in Friday afternoon’s series opener. The teams return to the field Saturday at noon ET.

The game, which was moved up from a 6:30 p.m. ET to 1 p.m. start, was delayed 92 minutes before first pitch due to storms in the Gainesville area.

Down to its final out in the ninth inning, Nick Lopez and Mitchell Daly calmly drew walks before Ryan Nicholson unloaded on a 2-0 pitch, driving it off the top of the videoboard to give UK (36-10, 19-6 SEC) the lead. Florida tied it in its half of the ninth on three two-out singles before Lopez lined a three-run double into the corner with two out in the 10th. The Gators pulled with one on two solo home runs and had the tying run on first base with one out before Ryan Hagenow induced a double play to end the wild affair.

Nicholson homered twice and drove in five, as Lopez also did to lead the charge. Ryan Waldschmidt and Devin Burkes also each reached base three times in a return to their home state.

UK scored right out of the gate but Florida answered in its half of the first and took a 4-1 lead on a two-out home run by Colby Shelton in the third. After the Gators added a solo home run in the fourth, the Cats battled for a pair in the fifth to cut the deficit to two.

UK looked poised to tighten the gap even more in the seventh after the first two reached but a bizarre double caught stealing short-circuited the threat and allowed the Gators off the hook. Emilien Pitre broke for second on the play but Waldschmidt did not do the same for third, creating a logjam at second. Florida threw out Waldschmidt at third and then nabbed Pitre trying to scramble back to first.

The unusual lack of sharpness showed again in the bottom of the inning as the Cats dropped a two-out pop-up and failed to catch another in foul territory. A wild pitch then chased home a run after the inning should have been over.

The Cats rallied to tie the game at six in the eighth on Eli Small’s pinch hit double, his first hit since February 20, that chased James McCoy home from first. It took Florida two batters in its half of the inning to reclaim the lead after an infield single and double into the corner.



  • Kentucky now is 36-10 in 2024, 19-6 in Southeastern Conference play.
  • Kentucky is 22-7 in day games.
  • Kentucky is 3-1 in May.
  • Kentucky is 10-3 in SEC road games.
  • Kentucky’s 15 road wins are the most in program history.
    • Its 10 SEC road wins also are the most in program history.
  • Kentucky is 12-5 vs. ranked teams and 18-5 vs. Quad 1 opponents.
  • Kentucky owns the most Quad 1 wins in Division I.
  • UK Coach Nick Mingione is in his eighth season at the helm and now owns a 252-160 career record.
  • Mingione needs six victories to become the second-winningest coach in school history.
  • UK is 43-42 in the month of May under Coach Mingione.
  • Mingione now is 7-13 vs. Florida.


  • Wildcats from the state of Florida include: Devin Burkes, Ty Crittenberger, Austin Fawley, Colby Frieda, James McCoy and Ryan Waldschmidt.
  • Kentucky has 19 SEC wins for just the third time in school history.
      • It is the second-most in school history (19, 2017).
      • The school record for SEC wins belongs to the 2006 SEC Championship squad, who finished 20-10.
  • Kentucky scored three runs each of the eighth, ninth and 10th innings, the 60th, 61st and 62nd time this season it has scored three or more in an inning.


  • Junior INF Emilien Pitre extended his streak of games reaching base safely to 23.
  • Graduate INF Nick Lopez went 2-for-2 with two runs, five RBI, two doubles and three walks.
  • It was his 19th multi-hit game and 13th multi-RBI game of the season.
  • He had a three-run double in the 10th
  • He has 17 doubles on the season.
  • Junior OF Ryan Waldschmidt went 3-for-6 with a run, a double and stolen base.
      • He has a hit in 16 of his last 17 games.
      • He has 19 steals on the season.
  • Senior IF Ryan Nicholson went 2-for-5 with two runs, five RBI and two home runs.
    • He hit a two-run shot in the eighth and three-run, two-out shot in the ninth.
  • Junior C Devin Burkes went 0-for-3 with three runs, a walk and two HBP.
  • Senior RHP Ryan Hagenow earned his second save.



Kentucky will face Florida at noon on Saturday. It will be televised on the SEC Network and radio coverage will be on the UK Sports Network.

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