GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Zack Thompson struck out 11 and did not allow an earned run in his second complete game shutout in Southeastern Conference play, leading Kentucky to a 5-1 road victory at Florida on Saturday night. It’s the first complete game on the road for a UK pitcher since Sean Hjelle at Texas A&M in 2017.
Thompson, a junior from Selma, Indiana considered one of the nation’s top left-handers, was brilliant in handcuffing the Gators on their home field. He allowed just three hits, which included a bunt single, a bouncer through the infield and a single that glanced off the shortstop, and allowed just two runners to reach third base, one on an error and another on a passed ball. The 11 strikeouts including his 100th of the season, making him just the 13th player in school history to reach that mark in a season.
The Wildcats (22-21, 5-15) gave their ace an early three-run cushion and then let him go to work. Aside from the one unearned run that scored after a bunt single, sacrifice bunt, passed ball and ball that bounced off the shortstop for a single, Thompson was nearly untouchable. The Gators’ only other runner to reach scoring position came in the eighth when a leadoff walk and errant pickoff throw put Brady McConnell on third with no outs in a two-run game. Thompson responded by going through the heart of the Florida order with two strikeouts looking and an infield pop-up to extinguish the threat.
Thompson lowered his season ERA to 1.88 but he’s been even better in conference play, pitching to a 1.47 ERA in 49.0 innings, striking out 65 batters and allowing just 30 hits.
On Sunday afternoon, UK will look to win its second straight road series in league play. First pitch is at noon ET and will air on ESPN2.
Top 2nd – Austin Schultz was hit by a pitch and Breydon Daniel singled to RF. Cam Hill singled to RF, scoring Schultz and moving Daniel to third. Hill moved to second on a fielder’s choice out at home, Marshall Gei reached. Zeke Lewis walked to load the bases. Hill scored on a wild pitch. Ryan Johnson was intentionally walked to load the bases. Ryan Shinn was hit by a pitch, Gei scored. UK 3, Florida 0.
Bottom 3rd – Jacob Young bunted for a hit to open the inning, advanced to second on a SAC bunt and third on a passed ball. Austin Langworthy singled off the SS, scoring Young. UK 3, Florida 1.
Top 9th – Shinn hit a ground rule double to LCF and scored on a double into LF corner by Elliott Curtis. Schultz singled to RF, advancing Curtis to third. Alex Rodriguez laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring Curtis. UK 5, Florida 1.
- Attendance for the game was 4,068.
- Kentucky has scored in 107 consecutive games and 183 of the past 184 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game. The current streak now is the second-longest in school history.
- Junior LHP Zack Thompson pitched 9.0 innings, allowing three hits, one unearned run, walking four and striking out 11.
o He lowered his ERA in SEC play to 1.47 and now has 65 strikeouts in 49.0 innings.
o This was Thompson’s second complete game of the season, both in SEC play.
- He did not allow an earned run in either game.
- This was the first complete game on the road for a UK player since Sean Hjelle at Texas A&M in 2017.
o The 11 strikeouts give him 240 for his career, moving him into seventh on UK’s career list. He stands two behind Steve Smith (1990-93) for sixth.
- It’s the fourth time in his career he’s reached double-digit strikeouts in a game.
- He now has 102 strikeouts on the season, making him just the 13th pitcher in school history to reach the century mark in a single season.
- Senior OF Ryan Shinn hit his team-leading 16th double and 28th extra-base hit of the season.
- Junior INF Elliott Curtis went 2-for-5 with a run and RBI double.
o It was his third double and second multi-hit game this week.
- Sophomore OF Cam Hill went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI.
o It was Hill’s seventh multi-hit game of the season and his second straight multi-hit game.
On Sunday afternoon, UK will look to win its second straight road series in league play. First pitch is at noon ET and will air on ESPN2. Audio coverage will be on UKathletics.com and the UK Sports Network.
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