Now or never: Kentucky opens SEC tournament with NCAA prospects in balance

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky baseball team will make one final impression on their regional NCAA tournament hopes this week at the Southeastern Conference tournament where they open the game against sixth-seeded Florida on Tuesday morning.

The first pitch is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.ET and the game will air on the SEC network and the WatchESPN app. The UK Sports Network will broadcast the match on radio at 6.30am (WLAP) Lexington and on UKAthletics.com, with Darren Headrick on call. Tom Hart, Ben McDonald and Chris Burke will have the call for the SEC network.

The early start shouldn’t temper what could be a spicy game after both teams played a hotly contested series at Lexington earlier this month. The Wildcats won Game 1 and were one strike away from winning the series in Game 2 before the Gators rallied to win. A day later, Florida won the series with a victory in the tie-breaker. Throughout the series, words and looks were exchanged and controversy arose in all three contests.

The Cats arrive in Hoover, Alabama, squarely in the NCAA bubble, probably needing at least two wins to have a realistic chance of winning a general offer. They gained momentum in the regular season finale when Coltyn Kessler exploded a game-winning three-run homer in the ninth inning with the Cats until their last strike at No.2 Vanderbilt. Two hitters later, Jake Plastiak added a two-run homerun and Sean harney closed the 7-5 win for his sixth stoppage of the season.

Harney will start on Tuesday against Florida ace Tommy Mace. Harney is only the third pitcher in UK history to record at least five saves and start five or more games in the same season, joining Kyle Cody (2014) and Adam Shadburne (1996). He struck out 55 runs in 42.0 innings and was 3-1 with an earned run average of 3.86.

The winner of Tuesday’s game advances to face third-seeded Mississippi State on Wednesday morning as the tournament’s double-elimination game begins.

Kentucky No.11 (29-22, 12-18) vs FLORIDA No.6 (35-19, 17-13)
When: 10:30 a.m. ET; Tuesday 25 May
Or: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (Hoover, Ala.)
TV: SEC network; Radio: UK Sports Network (630 AM WLAP, Lexington)

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