Posted: Mar 17, 2013 3:50 PM
All-America southpaw Corey Littrell fired eight one-run innings and Micheal Thomas belted a three-run homer in the second inning, leading No. 9 Kentucky to a 6-2 win over Florida, its first series win at UF in 15 years and just the third in program history, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in front of 3,284 at McKethan Stadium.
In a series that dates back to 1953, Kentucky (16-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) had only won three, three-game weekend series in Gainesville, in 1973, 1975 and 1999. After UK fell 6-1 in the series opener on Friday, UK rebounded to even the series with an 11-5 win on Saturday, before posting the rubber-match win on Sunday.
Littrell (3-0) turned in his fourth quality start and the 18th of his career. The Louisville, Ky., native worked eight innings, scattering 10 singles for one run, not allowing a walk and striking out seven, including striking out the top of the order in the seventh. With the decision, Littrell earned his 18th career win, moving into a tie with Doug Sutton (1986-88) for ninth place all-time in UK career history.
In Littrell's last two seasons, the southpaw has made nine starts in series-deciding rubber matches, with UK winning all nine games and the junior posting a 7-0 record and a 1.92 ERA.
Trevor Gott came on to get the final three outs of the game and seal the series win for the Wildcats, allowing a run on three hits.
The Wildcats were led by two-hit games from Austin Cousino, A.J. Reed, J.T. Riddle and Matt Reida, as UK pounded out 12 hits, drew three walks and was hit by one pitch. Thomas belted his first homer of the year - a three-run job in the second inning that game UK a lead - with UK also getting hits from Zac Zellers, Jeff Boehm and Kyle Barrett.
Florida (9-11, 1-1 SEC) starter Eric Handhold (0-1) worked 3.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and five runs, walking one and striking out three. Lefty Daniel Gibson replaced him in a two-out jam in the fourth, working a career-high 3.1 innings, not allowing a hit and walking two with three strikeouts. Mike Vinson worked two shutout innings in relief of Gibson.
GAME NOTES: J.T. Riddle made his team-leading 85th consecutive start ... Micheal Thomas hit his first homer of the year and the second of his career in the second inning ... Austin Cousino stole his eighth base in eight attempts in the second inning ... Jeff Boehm doubled for the first time in 2013 as an RBI knock in the third ... Corey Littrell picked off his third runner of the year and the 14th of his career ... Matt Reida doubled for the third time in 2013 in the fourth inning ... Thomas was hit by his team-high ninth pitch of the year ... UK won its first series in Gainesville since 1999 and just the fourth in program history, also winning in 1973 and 1975 ... UK trails the all-time series with Florida, 132-59-1, including a 72-23 mark in games played in Gainesville ... UK is now 1-0 in black and grey uniforms this year ... In the last two years, Littrell has made nine rubber match starts, with UK winning all nine and posting a 7-0 record and a 1.92 ERA in those outings ... Littrell worked his fourth quality start of the year and the 18th of his career ... With 18 career wins, Littrell moved into a tie for ninth place in UK career history.