Leave it to Cleaver: Freshman Lefty Slams Door to Clinch Series

Leave it to Cleaver: Freshman Lefty Slams Door to Clinch Series

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In a drama-filled series, No. 4 Kentucky outlasted Florida 7-5 in 10 innings to claim the hotly-contested series and inch closer to claiming its second Southeastern Conference regular season championship in school history.

Freshman lefty Ben Cleaver, the seventh and final Kentucky pitcher of the afternoon, blew three fastballs by a Gator batter with the tying runs in scoring position to give the Wildcats (37-11, 20-7 SEC) a second extra-inning victory of the weekend.

In a nod to the entirety of the season, it wasn’t easy.

Kentucky owned a 3-2 advantage entering the ninth inning but Florida smacked a one-out, game-tying home run to send it to extra innings. The Cats scored four runs in the top of the 10th inning, three on a bases loaded double by Patrick Herrera that soared over the leftfielder’s head.

The Gators mounted one more rally on their Senior Day, getting a two-run flared double to slice the lead in half. The Cats pivoted to their third pitcher of the inning in freshman Cleaver, who had not pitched since March 19. Showing steely resolve, he slammed the door and sent the Wildcats back into sole possession of first place with three games to play.



  • Kentucky now is 37-11 in 2024, 20-7 in Southeastern Conference play.
  • Kentucky is 23-8 in day games.
  • Kentucky is 4-2 in May.
  • Kentucky is 11-4 in SEC road games.
  • Kentucky’s 16 road wins are the most in program history.
    • Its 11 SEC road wins also are the most in program history.
    • UK finishes the SEC regular season with a 11-5 road record.
  • Kentucky is 12-5 vs. ranked teams and 19-6 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 253-161 career record.
  • Mingione needs six victories to become the second-winningest coach in school history.
  • UK is 44-43 in the month of May under Coach Mingione.
  • Mingione now is 8-14 vs. Florida.
  • Wildcats from the state of Florida include: Devin Burkes, Ty Crittenberger, Austin Fawley, Colby Frieda, James McCoy and Ryan Waldschmidt.
  • Kentucky has 20 SEC wins for just the second time in school history.
      • The school record for SEC wins belongs to the 2006 SEC Championship squad, who finished 20-10.
  • Kentucky has 99 stolen bases on the season.
  • Junior RHP Mason Moore allowed just two runs on three hits in 6.2 innings.
    • He struck out six and walked four.
  • Freshman Ben Cleaver earned his first career save.
    • He has appeared in three games and is 2-0 with one save.
  • Junior INF Emilien Pitre extended his streak of games reaching base safely to 25.
  • Junior INF Patrick Herrera went 2-for-3 with four RBI, a double, a walk and an HBP.
    • The four RBI are a career-high.


Kentucky will host Wright State on Tuesday night in the non-conference finale. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. ET and it will be streamed on the SECN+ and radio coverage will be on the UK Sports Network.

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