But UF’s offense failed to produce at the plate, staining a 3-5 loss to Florida’s midweek record.
When the orange and blue were stuck in another deficit on the scoreboard on Saturday against Arkansas, Kish took the mound in the sixth when the Gators were trailing 5-1 after a messy, four-run fifth inning.
The sophomore proved himself still hot on the hill, retiring 12-straight Razorbacks through the close of the loss. After rifling 40 pitches, Kish registered four strikeouts in four innings, penning his career-high in both strikeouts and innings pitched.
“Kish did a great job,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He was really good tonight. Four innings scoreless — he gave us a chance to get back in it. We just couldn’t quite do enough offensively.”
The right-hander said he came out of the pen with the mindset of pitching strikes for his first two pitches against the batters he faced and maintaining a pitcher’s count. Kish said he wanted to give his team a chance to compete at the plate.
“That was my job and I went out there and executed the best that I could,” Kish said.
Despite Kish’s killer command on the mound, Florida failed to execute at-bats or score any additional runs throughout the rest of the game.
The Arkansas loss marked Kish’s sixth appearance of the season, his first five being against Florida Atlantic, North Florida, Louisiana State, Tennessee and South Florida.
“I didn’t throw that much, but it’s a long, long season,” Kish said. “There’s a lot of innings and a lot of games. Everyone on the team is crucial to the success of the team as a whole and we need guys to step up.”
Kish added that fellow relief pitchers Steven Rodriguez and Austin Maddox have pitched a lot in late innings this season and it’s important for the rest of the bullpen to step up to keep everybody fresh.
But he said whenever anyone on the team is given an opportunity, as he has gotten this week, it’s important to seize it for all that it’s worth.
“The reality is every inning — every opportunity for myself, anyone else in the bullpen, starters, any at-bat for our hitters — is an opportunity to grow and get more opportunities,” he said. “It is what you make of it. You have to go out there and be ready to go whenever your name’s called upon and you have to be able to execute.”
Kish walked away from the Arkansas matchup boasting a 1.38 ERA.