HOOVER, Ala. — Josh Tobias’s single with two outs in the eighth drove in the go-ahead run and Florida beat Kentucky 6-5 Saturday to move into the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.
The top-seeded Gators (40-20), who lost their tournament opener to the Wildcats (35-23), face LSU on Sunday seeking their second championship in four years.
“Our guys fought. ... We are excited to play one more day,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We are looking forward to it.”
Florida reliever Eric Hanhold (4-3) left runners stuck at second base in both the bottom of the eighth and ninth.
Hanhold got Storm Wilson to ground out to end the game. He pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, striking out four and allowing two hits.
“I thought it was a great game. Kentucky has had our number this year,” O’Sullivan said. “They have a real chance in a regional. They have one of the best lineups in the league. We knew it was going to be a fight all the way to the end.”
Harrison Bader went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs for the Gators. Tobias, the No. 9 hitter, had two hits and scored twice while driving in his eighth run of the year to score Ryan Larson.
“I was looking for a pitch to drive. (The pitcher) was down 2-0 in the count,” Tobias said of his game-winning at-bat. “He threw me a fastball that I didn’t like, and then he threw a slider that I didn’t try to do too much with.”
Florida tied the game at 5 in the top of the seventh when Bader picked up his third RBI of the game.
Kentucky’s Austin Cousino drove in a pair of runs. Max Kuhn also had two RBIs.